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Royal College of General Practitioners

Sexually Transmitted Infections


in Primary Care

RCGP Sex, Drugs, HIV and Viral Hepatitis Group


British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH)
Second Edition 2013

Written by:
Dr Neil Lazaro

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care


Second Edition 2013
By Dr Neil Lazaro
Royal College of GPs
British Association for Sexual Health and HIV
Acknowledgments to:
Mark Bunegar of Fluke Design for typesetting this document so patiently and professionally
Lyndy Pullen, Head of Professional Programmes, Royal College of GPs
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
The production of this document was supported by educational grants from Meda Pharmaceuticals and Gilead
Sciences Ltd. These companies have had no editorial input or control over the content of this document.

Citation
This document should be cited as Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013 (RCGP/BASHH)
by Lazaro N. available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org/guidelines

Disclaimer
This publication is intended for the use of General Medical Practitioners and other healthcare professionals in the UK.
The author, publishers, RCGP Sex, Drugs, HIV and Viral Hepatitis Group and the British Association for Sexual Health
and HIV (BASHH) have taken care to ensure that the information contained in this document is correct to the best of
their knowledge, at the time of publication. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information
presented, particularly that related to the prescription of drugs, no liability can be accepted for information that is
subsequently shown to be wrong. It is the responsibility of the attending clinician to make his or her own clinical judgment
on an individual basis. Readers are advised to check that the information contained in this document, especially that
related to drug usage, complies with information contained in the most up to date British National Formulary, or
manufacturers data sheets, and that it complies with the latest legislation and standards of practice. Every effort has
been made to give accurate information and acknowledge all references. Any omissions or corrections submitted to
the publishers will gladly be incorporated where possible in subsequent editions. This guidance represents the views
of the RCGP Sex, Drugs, HIV and Viral Hepatitis Group and is not necessarily the policy of the RCGP Council.

Clinical advice, particularly with regard to testing and treatments, may change.
Updates are always highlighted on the BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group guidelines
webpage and readers are advised to check this regularly: www.bashh.org/guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Contents

1.

Standards for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

10

2.

HIV

16

3.

Male urethritis

19

4.

Abnormal vaginal discharge in women of reproductive years

24

5.

Bacterial vaginosis

32

6.

Vulvo-vaginal candidiasis

39

7.

Trichomonas vaginalis

45

8.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

47

9.

Epididymo-orchitis

52

10.

Chlamydia

56

11.

Gonorrhoea

65

12.

Genital herpes

69

13.

Syphilis

78

14.

Genital warts

83

15.

The ABC of hepatitis

89

16.

Pubic lice

91

17.

Genital scabies

93

18.

Genital molluscum contagiosum

95

19.

Balanitis

96

20.

Vulval conditions

99

21.

Prostatitis

107

22.

Proctitis / colitis / enteric infections

112

23.

Sexually acquired reactive arthritis

115

24.

Sexual assault

119

25.

Ophthalmia neonatorum

124

26.

Haematospermia

127

27.

Young people

128

28.

Tropical STIs

131

Appendix 1: Partner notification

133

Appendix 2: Useful resources

141

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Development process
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) is the lead professional
representative body for those practicing sexual health, including the management of
STIs and HIV, in the UK. The Clinical Effectiveness Group of BASHH produces national
clinical guidelines for Secondary Care physicians; these guidelines are systematically
developed and assessed in a robust and reproducible manner. Recent BASHH
guidelines have received accreditation from NHS Evidence, which is managed by the
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE): www.evidence.nhs.uk
This document is a collection, set out in chapters, of appropriate BASHH guidelines
that have been adapted by the author for pragmatic use in a Primary Care setting.
The author trained and worked as a GP and now sits on the Clinical Effectiveness Group
of BASHH. Clinical guidance from additional sources has been cited where appropriate.
Initially, specific chapters were assessed by the specialist authors of the individual BASHH
guidelines. The whole document was then reviewed by members of the RCGP Sex,
Drugs, HIV and Viral Hepatitis Group as well as by experienced STI specialists. Furthermore,
a General Practitioner with no specialist background knowledge of STIs appraised
the document for usability.
The author received no funding to produce this document.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Preface
This publication updates and replaces the first edition of STIs in Primary Care written by me
in 2006. Once again, it is based on relevant Secondary Care guidelines produced by the
British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH), which have been adapted for more
appropriate and practical use in a Primary Care setting. I am grateful for the feedback of
each BASHH guideline author on my adaptation of their work.
The document also brings together advice from other publications that many GPs may
not have time to read thoroughly. For example, the chapter on STI management standards
has been written specifically to draw your attention to this important area and all readers
are advised to look at this section (chapter 1).
This publication is intended to advise the busy GP on the best course of management
when dealing with STIs and related conditions in a GP sugery. It has been reviewed by
GPs and deals with what might reasonably be expected of the average GP. In many
cases, particularly with the increased availability of walk-in GU services, referral to GUM
will often be the most appropriate course of action. In cases where referral is difficult,
for whatever reason, this document should help with pragmatic advice.
It retains the informal and sometimes shorthand dialogue of its predecessor which has
proved popular with busy clinicians wanting to look up guidance quickly. Certain tables
and algorithms are repeated in various chapters as I acknowledge that sections are often
looked at in isolation. Readers are advised to look at a chapter in its entirety rather than
simply jump to a treatment section, as STI management always involves a wider context
than simply prescribing drugs. Whilst the advice in this document is correct at the time
of going to press, readers are strongly advised to check the BASHH guidelines website
(see foot of each page) for management updates, as tests and treatment options can
rapidly change.
With sexually transmitted infections continuing to rise, there remains a need for GPs
(and other non-specialist clinicians such as those working in contraceptive clinics, prisons,
A&E and HM Forces etc) to be able to manage patients swiftly, pragmatically and
appropriately. I hope this publication helps.
Dr Neil Lazaro
BSc (Hons) MRCGP DipGUMed DTM&H DFSRH
Member of BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group and the Royal College of GPs Sex, Drugs, HIV and Viral Hepatitis Group
March 2013

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Foreword from the Chair of the RCGP


The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is the professional membership body
and guardian of standards, for family doctors in the UK. We aim to promote excellence
in primary healthcare, working to improve GP education and training. We provide a
comprehensive range of resources to help GPs keep their knowledge and skills up to date.
This document is such a resource. GPs frequently see people who present at risk of an
STI, with or without symptoms, and this booklet will be very helpful in managing patients
appropriately. It is a readable, comprehensive and very practical coal-face guide of what
to do (and how to do it) in a primary care setting.
Judging by the popularity of its 2006 predecessor, Im sure it will continue to provide
a valuable resource to all those involved in community healthcare. I am delighted to
welcome it and will be keeping a copy in my Favourites folder!
The author, Dr Lazaro, is a former GP and current member of the RCGP. He has extensive
knowledge of the subject and I congratulate him for his hard work in producing this.
My thanks also to the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV for their help and
support in its production.

Dr Clare Gerada
MBE MOM FRCPsych FRCGP FRCP
Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, London

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Foreword from the President of BASHH


National specialist society guidelines are usually written from the perspective of the
specialist, so they may sometimes be difficult for primary care clinicians to implement
fully into their own practice. Yet many people with sexual health problems choose to
consult their General Practitioner about them.
In recognition of this, the author, who has experience of working in both primary care
and specialist services, set up this joint initiative between the Royal College of General
Practitioners and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV; he has produced
this document by modifying the national guidelines to make them more applicable to
primary care. The first edition was published in 2006 and here is the newly updated
second edition.
I congratulate the author on this text, which consists of accurate and relevant information
for the management of sexually transmitted infections and related conditions in primary
care. Along with the condensed and compact format, this applicability to primary care
will mean that this information is easily accessible and useful to all working in general
practice and other non-specialist settings.

Dr Janet Wilson
President
British Association for Sexual Health and HIV

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Acknowledgements
I am very grateful to the following people for their help and advice with the production of this publication:
The specialist authors of the individual BASHH guidelines which formed the basis of this document, who kindly reviewed and ratified
specific chapters.
Dr Chris Bignell (Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust) Gonorrhoea
Dr Fiona Boag (Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London) Chlamydia
Dr Gary Brook (Central Middlesex Hospital, Northwest London Hospitals NHS Trust) Hepatitis
Dr Elizabeth Carlin (Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust)
Sexually acquired reactive arthritis
Dr Beata Cybulska (Bristol University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) Sexual assault
Dr Sarah Edwards (West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Bury St Edmunds) Balanitis and vulval conditions
Dr Mark FitzGerald (Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust) Gonorrhoea
Dr Philip Hay (St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust, London) Bacterial vaginosis
Dr Paddy Horner (University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol) Chlamydia
Dr Margaret Kingston (Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) Syphilis
Dr Mayura Nathan (Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London) Warts
Dr Raj Patel (University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust) Herpes
Dr Claire Robertson (Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham) Candidiasis
Dr Karen Rogstad (Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) Young people
Prof Jonathan Ross (University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust) Pelvic inflammatory disease
Dr Gordon Scott (Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh) Scabies, pubic lice and molluscum contagiosum
Dr Jackie Sherrard (Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust) Trichomonas vaginalis
Dr Emma Street (Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust) Epididymo-orchitis and prostatitis
Dr David White (Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham) Candidiasis
Acknowledgements also to
The Clinical Effectiveness Group of BASHH: comments from Dr Keith Radcliffe (Chair), Dr Mark FitzGerald, Dr Margaret Kingston
and Dr Ann Sullivan
The Clinical Standards Unit of BASHH: comments from Dr Immy Ahmed (Chair)
Dr Hugo McClean (comments on STI standards and Partner Notification issues)
My thanks also to the following for their thorough reviews of the whole document
Dr Helen Bailey, Associate Specialist, Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Wrexham
Dr Penny Goold, Consultant Physician, GU Medicine, Whittall Street Clinic, Birmingham
Dr Anne Greenwood, Clinical Director of Sexual Health, North Locality, Community Health Services Division,
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Prof Catherine Ison, Director Sexually Transmitted Bacteria Reference Laboratory, Health Protection Agency, London
Dr Louise Melvin, Consultant in Sexual & Reproductive Health and Director of the Clinical Effectiveness Unit of the Faculty of Sexual
& Reproductive Healthcare, Glasgow
Dr Lisa Nayler, GP, Madeira Medical Centre, Poole, Dorset
Dr John Sweeney, Consultant Physician in GUM & HIV, Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Royal Preston Hospital, Lancashire
Dr Nick Theobald, Clinical Lecturer / Associate Specialist, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London
The members of the Royal College of General Practitioners RCGP Sex, Drugs, HIV and Viral Hepatitis Group who gave particular
advice from a Primary Care perspective: Dr Kate Armitage , Sarah Challinor, Dr Philippa James , Ruth Lowbury, Dr Richard Ma,
Dr Philippa Matthews, Dr Ewen Stewart and Dr Gill Tonge.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Abbreviations
/

increase / decrease

male / female

BME

black and minority ethnic groups

BV

bacterial vaginosis

cf

confer (ie: compare)

c/o

complaining of

DIC

disseminated intravascular coagulation

d/w

discuss with

FCU

first-catch urine

FPU

first-pass urine

GC

gonococcus (gonorrhoea)

HPA

Health Protection Agency

HVS

high vaginal swab

HPV

human papilloma virus

Hx

history

m/c/s

microscopy, culture and sensitivity

MSM

men who have sex with other men

MSU

mid-stream urine

NAAT

Nucleic Acid Amplification Technique / Test (a very sensitive way of detecting DNA / RNA)

NSAIDS

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

PMHx

past medical history

PPT

precipitate

PROM

premature rupture of membranes

Pt

patient

PPV

positive predictive value

Rx

treatment

STI

sexually transmitted infection

Sx

symptoms

TB

tuberculosis

ToC

test of cure (another test after Rx to ensure eradication)

ToP

termination of pregnancy

TV

Trichomonas vaginalis

UPSI

unprotected sexual intercourse

UTI

urinary tract infection

VVS

vulvo-vaginal swab

WSW

women who have sex with other women

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

10

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

1. Standards for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Standards have been developed1 to support all providers of sexual health services in achieving safe, high quality

services for the management of STIs. The Standards also provide specific sections to support commissioners
of services
The Standards cover all aspects of current best practice in the management of STIs, including the diagnosis

and treatment of individuals, as well as the broader public health role of infection control
There are nine standards covering all aspects of STI management
clinical issues
commissioning issues
frameworks for monitoring performance, with key performance indicators
The standards have been endorsed by all professional groups involved in providing sexual healthcare,

including the RCGP.


They represent current best practice and are intended for use in all services where STIs may be managed.
Primarily this involves services specifically commissioned by the NHS to manage STIs (including services provided

by the Third and Independent sectors) but also includes GPs who may manage STIs incidentally rather than
through a formally commissioned service.
If you are providing a commissioned STI service, you will know about these standards. If you are a GP who might

occasionally manage STIs simply as part of your day to day clinical work, then bear in mind that the standards
should be adhered to as pragmatically as possible (there is advice to refer patients on if you are unable to meet
certain criteria).
A patient information leaflet2 (see figure 1) summarises what patient can expect from all service providers
The standards have been produced for England, but clinical recommendations also apply to Wales and

Northern Ireland. Sexual Health service standards for Scotland were published by NHS Quality Improvement
Scotland in 2008.3
Figure 1: Patient information leaflet
Summary of what patients should expect from clinicians managing STIs (adapted from ref 2)
To be offered an appointment to be seen within 2 working days of contacting an STI service
To have care managed by trained and competent staff
To receive confidential, non-judgmental advice
To be offered, as a minimum, tests for Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis
To have the most accurate tests for infections
To receive all results (negative or positive) within 14 working days
To be given the most effective treatment free of charge* if any infections are found
To be offered support in helping sexual partners to access testing and treatment
To be offered free condoms*
To be able to give feedback about STI services received and have feedback acted upon
To receive care from high quality STI services that are safe, well-managed and accountable
To be referred to another service quickly and easily, if necessary

* may be difficult in non-commissioned services consider referral

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

1. Standards for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

The standards document1 is easy to read and can be downloaded for free I recommend you take a look.
For non-specialist GPs who may simply deal with STIs on an ad-hoc basis and dont have time to look at the main
document, I have summarised it in table 1. It is not exhaustive but gives you an idea of the basic issues involved in STI
management. It can be used as a reference guide when GPs see a particular condition.
Dont be put off dealing with STIs, but do think Am I the best person to be dealing with this? (It may, of course be
that pragmatically you ARE the best person there and then). Just be aware that if you do commence management,
then there are other issues involved and be aware of them your patients may well be (see figure 1). As with all
aspects of general practice, work within your levels of competence and if unsure, ask for advice or refer.

Table 1: Standards for the management of STIs (adapted from ref 1)


Standard

Recommendations

Pragmatically what this means

1. Principles of STI care

STI services should be

If you cant provide this refer (local


care pathways should be in place.
See Standard 7)

open access
Urgent problems should be

managed the same day / next


session
Pts should have choice of

where to access services


Confidentiality is expected
Rx should be those

recommended by the latest


BASHH guidelines4
Partner notification should be

instigated where appropriate


Surveillance data should

be collected

Equitable standards of care should be


available in every setting. This may be
difficult for non-specialist GPs to provide
and you may well need to be pragmatic
in some circumstances after d/w Pt
Partner notification is vital in some
conditions and although you might not
be able to do it thoroughly, it should at
least be d/w Pts. Consider referral to
GUM for completion
Data collection will improve with use
of the Genitourinary Medicine Clinic
Activity Dataset which currently has been
developed for data collection from
commissioned enhanced sexual health
services. Work is ongoing by the Health
Protection Agency and the NHS
Information Centre General Practice
Extract Service to specify a routine
extract from all GPs for the surveillance
of STIs.
Gonorrhoea statistics are increasingly
important ( ing resistance) and GUM
should be involved in the management
of all gonorrhoea cases.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

11

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

1. Standards for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Standard

Recommendations

Pragmatically what this means

2. Appropriately
trained staff

All professionals should be

GUM services should have a leadership


role in supporting education, training and
clinical governance.

competent to deliver their service


Competence should be

assessed and maintained


A comprehensive clinical

governance framework should


demonstrate the maintenance of
national and local standards of
care as well as the clinical
competence of the health care
workers providing this

As with all general practice, if you feel


out of your depth refer. The problem
of course, is not knowing what
you dont know...
Training is available (see Appendix 2:
Resources)

The leadership role of Level 3

providers5 (mainly specialist


GUM services) should be explicit
and commissioned
3. The clinical assessment

Appropriate medical and sexual

Hx should be taken ( sensitive,


private, confidential, awareness
of Child Protection issues and
Mental Capacity issues)
Appropriate examination
Appropriate tests
Any STI test?

100% pts
should be offered an HIV test
as well

Minimum STI screen = Chlamydia,

gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis


testing

4. Diagnostics

Confidentiality issues.
A chaperone should be offered to
everyone for intimate examinations,
and if needed and not available,
provided at another time or place
The correct materials for specimen
collection and transport should be
used
Patient should be informed of all results,
including negative results.
HIV testing can be provided quickly in
General Practice and easy-to-follow
guidelines are available (see HIV chapter)

Results procedure

Although the prevalence of certain


infections will vary, it is good practice
to screen everyone

Diagnostic tests should be

There must be equity across all care


providers

the latest gold standard tests:


validated and reliable.
Point-of-care tests should only

be used as screening tests.


A reactive result?
confirm
in lab
Labs should be accredited
Results should be back < 7/7

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

1. Standards for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Standard

Recommendations

Pragmatically what this means

5. Clinical management

Syndromic management

Free Rx s are difficult in routine general


practice currently. If you cant provide
this (and the Pt wants free Rx) then refer
(local care pathways should be in place).

(Rx without tests) is considered


sub-optimal and not
recommended unless in
exceptional circumstances
Empirical Rx (Rx at time of

consultation before test result


is back) may be appropriate in
some circumstances (Eg: Rxing
the partner of someone with
an STI)

Of course, some Pts may not be worried


about paying for a prescription from you,
but the offer of free Rx at a specialist
service should be made.

Staff should be competent at

interpreting test results


Rx should be in line with latest

BASHH guidelines 4 and be


free of charge6
Partner notification should be

instigated where appropriate


Health promotion: written

information / advice, condoms


supplied free, one-to-one
interventions to promote
behavioural change
6. Information governance

Information (on Pts and their

sexual contacts) should be held


securely and in strict accordance
with current guidance.
Data sharing should follow

current national guidance

Your practice should have written policies


on information security and sharing and
confidentiality that all staff are trained
to use.
Be very careful about what you record
in the notes. Identifiable data (e.g. the
names of sexual contacts) should be
recorded only if necessary for the
purposes of partner notification and
should not be documented in the
patients primary care record in case
the information is subsequently shared
e.g. insurance reports

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

13

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

1. Standards for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Standard

Recommendations

Pragmatically what this means

7. Links to other services

Clinical links to GUM

Specialist advice, support and referral


should be available to you.

Care pathways should be in place,

linking Levels 1, 2 and 3


Sexual health networks should

be developed in every health


economy

Most peoples sexual health needs


are wider than the pharmacological
management of an STI GPs are
well placed to be involved holistically.
In fact, GPs are ideally placed to manage
issues such as alcohol / drug use or
mental health issues, which can
adversely affect sexual health.

8. Clinical governance

Clinical leadership should be

provided by GUM services


they should also support
education and training

Consider auditing your care of Pts


with STIs in collaboration with your
local Level 3 service.

Elements of clinical practice

should be audited at least


annually
Risk management procedures

should be in place
Patients and the public should

9. Patient and
public engagement

be consulted about services


A documented patient and

public engagement (PPE) plan


should be implemented
There should be evidence of

both service user feedback


and the services response to
feedback arising from
implementation of a PPE plan
Patient-reported outcomes

should be developed

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Collaborate with your patient participation


groups and consider how to reach
specific groups such as MSM, BME,
young patients, etc.
Agree on a written engagement plan
that includes using and responding
to user feedback
Pt-reported outcome measures
should be pretty standard in GP.

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

1. Standards for the Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

References
1. Standards for the management of Sexually Transmitted Infections 2010
BASHH and Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health ISBN 978-1-905545-42-1
Available at www.medfash.org.uk and www.bashh.org.uk
2. Your guide to the standards for the management of sexually transmitted infections
Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health 2010
Available at www.medfash.org.uk and www.bashh.org.uk
3. Sexual Health Services Standards
NHS Quality Improvement Scotland March 2008 ISBN 1-84404-497-1
Available at www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org
4. British Association for Sexual Health & HIV Clinical Effectiveness Group Guidelines.
Available at www.bashh.org/guidelines.
5. The national strategy for sexual health and HIV
Dept of Health London 2001 Gateway ref 2001 Crown copyright
Available at www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4003133
6. A statutory right to free treatment for sexually transmitted infections originates from specific legislation:
National Health Service. Prescription Charges for Hospital Outpatients. HM(68)30. London:
Ministry of Health, 1968

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

2. HIV

HIV infection rates are increasing and GPs should not be afraid to offer testing in Primary Care.
Gone are the days of the HIV test being a secretive affair offered only after counseling in specialist units.
HIV testing can and should be done in General Practice for...
anyone at risk
anyone with clinical indicator diseases
anyone requesting it

see algorithm below

Effective treatments are now available, making HIV a manageable long-term condition
The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the better the outcome. Late-stage disease has a poorer prognosis
More detailed HIV issues are beyond the scope of this document and are addressed in the excellent publication

HIV in Primary Care (2011)1 available at www.medfash.org.uk


Written by practicing GPs and HIV specialists with an interest in GP education, it is instructive, practical

and easy to use with a comprehensive index and full colour illustrations.
Highly recommended!
See next section for advice on HIV testing in General Practice

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

2. HIV

HIV testing in General Practice


Adapted from The 6-step guide to HIV Testing in Primary Care written by the Sex, Drugs and HIV Group of the RCGP
2010 and the UK National Guidelines for HIV Testing 2008

Do you practice in an area of high HIV prevalence (> 2 per 1000)?


Not sure? Ask your local specialists or find out at http://tinyurl.com/9dqabmq

Yes

Offer HIV test to all new patients registering.

No

Also

Offer test to all at-risk patients*


Area of low HIV prevalence
(< 2 per 1000)?

Offer test to all those with clinical


indicator diseases**
You can advertise testing in your waiting room

Offer test to all at-risk patients*


Offer test to all those with clinical indicator diseases**

using printed publications and leaflets

* The at-risk patient

** Clinical indicator diseases for HIV


See table 1

Anyone with an STI


Men who have sex with other men
Those buying / selling sex
Those from countries of high HIV prevalence.

See www.unaids.org
IVDUs
Any sexual partner of the above

The HIV Test


Specialist in-depth counselling is not necessary.
Explain the benefits of testing

earlier diagnosis

better prognosis

effective treatments now available

better prognosis

The patient only needs to give verbal consent to the test


Insurance issues? Reassure Pts that insurance companies should not ask whether an individual has ever

had a negative HIV test. Applicants themselves must declare a +ve result, but that would be the case
with any other medical condition. In fact some insurance companies do insure HIV+ pts
Take 10 mls of clotted blood and send it to virology marked HIV test
Agree with Pt how and when to give results (? face to face). Check correct contact details.
Results: If neg talk about risk reduction (safer sex, etc). Re-test if within 3/12 window period

If positive refer (pathways should be in place). If unwell, refer more quickly.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

2. HIV

Table 1: Clinical indicator diseases for adult HIV infection (adapted from ref 2)
Clinical specialty

AIDS defining condition

Other conditions where HIV testing should be offered

Dermatology

Kaposis sarcoma

Severe / recalcitrant seborrhoeic dermatitis or psoriasis


Lymphadenopathy of unknown cause

ENT

Chronic parotitis

Gastroenterology

Persistent

cryptosporidiosis

Oral candidiasis
Oral hairy leukoplakia
Chronic diarrhoea of unknown cause
Weight loss of unknown cause

Gynaecology

Cervical cancer

Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia


Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia Grade 2 or above
Any unexplained blood dyscrasia, including

Haematology

neutropaenia, lymphopaenia and thrombocytopaenia


Neurology

Cerebral

toxoplasmosis
Primary cerebral

lymphoma

Aseptic meningitis / encephalitis


Cerebral abscess
Space occupying lesion of unknown cause

Cryptococcal

meningitis
Oncology

Non-Hodgkins

lymphoma

Anal cancer or anal intraepithelial dysplasia


Lung cancer
Hodgkins lymphoma

Respiratory
medicine
Other

Tuberculosis

Bacterial pneumonia

Pneumocystis

Aspergillosis
Mononucleosis-like syndrome

(consider primary HIV infection)


Pyrexia of unknown origin
Any lymphadenopathy of unknown cause

References
1. HIV in Primary Care 2011 (2nd edition)
ISBN 978-0-9549973-9-7
Medical Foundation for AIDS & Sexual Health (MedFASH)
BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP
www.medfash.org.uk

2. UK National Guidelines for HIV Testing 2008


British HIV Association, British Association for
Sexual Health & HIV, British Infection Society
Available at www.bhiva.org/files/file1031097.pdf

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

3. Male urethritis

Background 1, 2, 3, 4
Urethritis is usually due to a sexually transmitted infection although a UTI (uncommon in

young

) may produce similar Sx

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

The inflammation may sometimes be due to non-infective causes, but STIs must always

be excluded if the Hx (ie: sexual contact, including oral sex) is suggestive


The following symptoms may be present
Urethral discharge
usually a result of an STI
the type of discharge may be mucoid, purulent or muco-purulent
the quantity of discharge may be minimal or copious
Urethral discomfort or itch
Dysuria
dont assume dysuria in a male is always a UTI!
a sexually active man c/o dysuria must have STIs excluded
consider screening for a UTI if Hx suggestive, or if older

in whom UTI may be more likely

Epididymo-orchitis (see chapter 9)


Symptoms of sexually acquired reactive arthritis (see chapter 23)

STI causes (you cannot reliably distinguish these clinically):


1. Chlamydia
diagnosed on 1st pass urine ( a NAAT test)
common cause of urethritis

2. Gonorrhoea (also known as gonococcus or GC for short)


less common than Chlamydia

prevalence in certain populations ( MSM, BME groups, urban areas )

can also be diagnosed on 1st pass urine in

( or swab sent for culture) check with your local lab


(NB: urine is not an optimal specimen for gonorrhoea in females. See gonorrhoea chapter)

3. Non-specific urethritis (NSU)


this is really a diagnosis of exclusion after GC and Chlamydia have been ruled out
lots of different organisms can cause this, such as Mycoplasma genitalium, TV, yeasts, herpes, and adenoviruses

(the latter is often seasonal and associated with oral sex)


sometimes, there isnt an infective cause at all
normally diagnosed on microscopy in GUM. Not practical in GP thus this diagnosis will be presumed

on the basis of negative GC and Chlamydia tests


partner notification should still be carried out (see below)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

3. Male urethritis

Management (see also STI Management Standards chapter)


Take a Hx (including a sexual Hx)
Examine
If you suspect an STI...

Refer to GU (local care management pathways should be in place)

or
If an urgent (< 48 hours) appt is not possible then consider:
taking tests for STIs
and then treating empirically (see below)

Note:
This is not ideal, but is simply pragmatic especially if it is a Friday evening when urgent GU access may be difficult
Treating an STI promptly, not only alleviates symptoms but also halts the subsequent spread of infection
If you decide to treat a presumed STI, you must attend to the process of notifying recent sexual partners,

who may be unaware they might be carrying an asymptomatic infection.


At the very least, this involves telling the index patient they should abstain from sex until recent sexual partners

have been checked / treated, and that those partners should seek medical advice.
Water-tight partner notification is difficult to achieve in General Practice and is probably best left to GU clinics
Rxing an STI involves other principles see the chapter on STI Standards

Tests
You should talk to your local lab / GUM about which swabs and samples to take. Consider...
Obtain a first pass urine specimen ( ideally when Pt hasnt passed urine for at least 1 hour but you may need

to be pragmatic)
send the 1st pass urine for Chlamydia NAAT and Gonorrhoea NAAT (both can be done on the same urine

sample, if available in your local lab) (NB: urine is not an optimal specimen for gonorrhoea detection in females.
See gonorrhoea chapter)
look for threads (these are strands of mucus / pus suspended in urine. They can be a useful clue for inflammation

in the anterior urethra , but this is neither sensitive nor specific and should not be relied upon as a sole diagnostic
criteria for urethritis)
If gonorrhoea NAAT unavailable, take a urethral swab for gonorrhoea culture, but this needs to reach the lab promptly

(within 24 to 48 hours. d/w your local lab)


Test for other STIs (minimum: Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, as well as syphilis and HIV blood tests)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

3. Male urethritis

Treatment
Syndromic management (Rx without tests) is considered sub-optimal and not recommended unless there

are exceptional circumstances. If you plan to Rx, then take tests first!
Empirical Rx (Rx at time of consultation before test result is back) may be appropriate in some circumstances

(Eg: pragmatic Friday evening consultation). Dont forget partners may need Rx as well.

The Rx for Chlamydia and NSU is:

AZITHROMYCIN 1 g po stat
or
DOXYCYCLINE 100 mg po bd 7/7
The Rx for uncomplicated urethral gonorrhoea (see also the Gonorrhoea chapter) is currently

1st line: CEFTRIAXONE 500 mg im injection stat + AZITHROMYCIN 1 g po stat


2nd line: CEFIXIME 400 mg po stat + AZITHROMYCIN 1 g po stat
NB:
Increasing resistance to gonorrhoea the Rx given in this publication is correct at the time of going to press

but it may change. See BASHH website for latest Rx guidance. www.bashh.org/guidelines
If you intend to treat for gonorrhoea, take a swab for culture first if possible (resistance needs to be monitored)
If oral Cefixime regimen is used, beware Rx failure
Pts must be followed up
All gonorrhoea cases should have a test of cure taken (see gonorrhoea chapter)
All Rx failures must be reported to the HPA
Partner(s) must be Rxd
Tests of cure are not generally required for urethral Chlamydia / NSU cases in males.

The complexities of gonorrhoea management make it difficult for most GPs to deal with and cases
should be referred promptly to GUM for management 5

The difficulty, of course, is initially differentiating Chlamydia / NSU (easier to Rx in GP) from gonorrhoea
this is difficult clinically you cannot tell just from Sx / signs
Friday evening consultations are difficult. Pragmatic Rx needed
Pragmatically, therefore
if you are likely to come across gonorrhoea ( Eg: high local prevalence) have a plan agreed in advance with

local GUM services about out-of-hours / non-GU management


if you strongly suspect gonorrhoea, Rx according to guidance as best as you can but follow-up the Pt closely
make sure you have the Pts contact details for follow-up

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

3. Male urethritis

Note:
Advise pt to tell their sexual partner(s) to attend GU clinic for Rx.
A generic Contact Slip for use in Primary Care can be found in Appendix 1 you may wish to print it off to use
Consider FU (? GU / ? GP) in 1 to 2 weeks (

Rx compliance, partner notification, symptoms resolved? etc)

Advise pt NO sexual encounters at all, until given the all clear


not even with a condom because sexual contact can occur before a condom is put on
condoms can also split
No sex includes all genital-mucous membrane contact (so no oral sex either)
They may not attend for follow up, so when you Rx them initially, advise no sex until 7 days after Rx finishes

and symptoms resolved and partner (s) have been successfully treated. Partners must wait >7 days after their
Rx before commencing sex again.
All gonorrhoea cases need a test of cure. Gonorrhoea is best managed in GUM.
Give Pt written advice (Pt information leaflets)
Document all of this.

Partner notification
How far back you trace depends on what the diagnosis is and when the Pt developed urethral symptoms
Gonorrhoea 2

symptoms?
all sexual partners in previous 2 weeks
no symptoms? all sexual partners in previous 3 months
Chlamydia 3

symptoms?
all sexual partners in previous 4 weeks
no symptoms? all sexual partners in previous 6 months
NSU 4

symptoms?

all sexual partners in previous 4 weeks

These figures are arbitrary as it is not known for sure how long asymptomatic carriage can be. Common sense should
be used in assessing which sexual partners may have been at risk, and sometimes longer time periods may be involved.
d/w GUM for advice (or refer Pt).
Partner notification should be pursued in all patients, preferably by a trained Health Advisor in GU medicine, who can
also document action and outcomes. This applies, to a greater or lesser degree, to most STIs. For the time being, watertight partner notification remains difficult to achieve in Primary Care. You must be aware of the need for it and document
that you have discussed this with the patient. See STI Standards chapter.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

3. Male urethritis

References
1. Sexually Transmitted Infections (4th Ed)
Holmes et al.
Published by McGraw-Hill 2008 ISBN 978-0-07-141748-8
2. UK national guideline for the management of gonorrhoea in adults 2011
C. Bignell and M. FitzGerald
International Journal of STD & AIDS 2011; 22: 541547
3. 2006 UK National Guideline for the management of genital tract infection with Chlamydia trachomatis
British Association for Sexual Health and HIV Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh/guidelines
4. 2007 UK National Guideline for the management of non-gonococcal urethritis (updated 2008)
British Association for Sexual Health and HIV Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh/guidelines
5. Guidance for gonorrhoea testing in England and Wales 2010
Health Protection Agency / British Association for Sexual Health and HIV
Available at www.bashh/guidelines and www.hpa.org

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

4. Abnormal vaginal discharge in women of reproductive years

Background 1
Causes
Infective
Bacterial vaginosis (commonest cause of abnormal vaginal discharge)
Candida
Non-infective
Physiological (common) a diagnosis of exclusion
Others (cervical ectopy, polyps, foreign bodies, genital dermatoses, malignancies, allergies, fistulae)
Sexually transmitted
Chlamydia (common)
Gonorrhoea (less common)
Trichomonas vaginalis (less common)

History essential!
Candida is often over-diagnosed (by patients as well as clinicians) and over-Rxd2
BV is often under-diagnosed (despite being more common than Candida)
STIs may be missed if a sensitive sexual history is not taken
Ask...
What has been noticed? For how long?
Any itch? Any malodour?
Consistency of discharge? Eg: lumpy (

? Candida), homogeneous (

? BV), frothy (

? TV)

Anything make it better or worse?


Any Rx tried? (Prescription as well as any over-the-counter preparations). Any vaginal douching?
Cyclical symptoms?
Any Sx / signs of PID? (have a low threshold to examine to examine if so)
Any risk of STIs? Does their partner have any Sx of STIs (Eg: urethral discharge? Epididymitis?)
Contraceptive use?
Past medical Hx

NB: Note that I have not listed colour here as my personal view is that it is very subjective and not always helpful
(unless, of course, blood stained). As the commonest causes of abnormal vaginal discharge are BV and Candida,
the questions I ask early on in the consultation are about associated malodour and itch.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

4. Abnormal vaginal discharge in women of reproductive years

Table 1: Vaginal discharge diagnosis clues (see also individual chapters)


Bacterial vaginosis

Vulvo-Vaginal Candidiasis

Trichomoniasis

Commonest cause
of abnormal vaginal
discharge.

Perceived by women to
be more common than
it actually is.

Not sexually
transmitted.

Not sexually transmitted.

An STI ! Diagnosis should


be made with a reliable
method as there will be
implications for partner(s)

Homogeneous
(ie: same consistency )
thin and watery)

Variable but often thick,


lumpy and white

Variable may be frothy

Odour

Malodour

No malodour

Malodour

Associated
symptoms
(not all may
be present)

Usually none
(unless accompanied
by Candida)

Itch / soreness
External dysuria
External dyspareunia

Itch / soreness
Dysuria
Lower abdominal pain

Typical signs

Discharge coats the


vagina and vestibule

May look normal


or
Vaginal inflammation
and / or
Vulval inflammation
+/- fissures
+/- oedema
+/- satellite lesions

May look normal


or
Frothy discharge
+/- vulvitis
+/- vaginitis
+/- cervicitis*

4.5 (ie: normal)

> 4.5

Notes

Discharge

No vaginal or vulval
inflammation (unless
accompanied by
Candida)

Vaginal pH
( take from
lateral wall)
Normal
= 3.5 to 4.5

> 4.5

( *the so-called Strawberry


cervix : often quoted but
actually rare: < 2%)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

4. Abnormal vaginal discharge in women of reproductive years

Examination
Not always needed (see algorithm below). It is pragmatic not to have to examine every woman

c/o vaginal discharge providing it sounds uncomplicated. But...


You should take a thorough history and not simply rely on a patients self-diagnosis
Patients with recurrent Sx or those that fail to improve should be examined and investigated
Certain conditions should prompt an appropriate examination and investigations first-line

If you do examine, then


Note appearance of discharge and any associated signs
Check vaginal pH (see below)
Evidence of cervicitis? Consider STIs take endocervical swabs for Chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
TV suspected? TV is difficult to diagnose in GP (see chapter 7) consider referral. d/w GUM / lab
Retained foreign body? Remove and consider antibiotics (however, this isnt always needed

once the foreign body is removed). If toxic shock (rare) then Rx appropriately.
PID suspected? see PID chapter
Sounds physiological (cyclical, no itch, no malodour, no other Sx)?
reassure, but examine and investigate if necessary, if only to exclude other causes

Investigations
pH
Normal vaginal pH is up to 4.5 (

kept acidic by normal lactobacilli)

Its an indicator of vaginal ecology


It is sensitive (for pH) but
It is not very specific
It can be normal (acidic) with
Normality
Candida
It can be raised with
local blood, semen, cervical secretions, lubrication used on the speculum
BV and TV (cannot distinguish between these two on pH alone)
Sometimes cervical gonorrhoea and Chlamydia infections (

alter the local vaginal ecology

and often occur with BV)


How to measure vaginal pH
take a swab or plastic loop, rub it along the lateral wall collecting some discharge, then rub it onto pH paper
avoid the cervix which has alkaline secretions; these can collect in the posterior fornix,

so avoid this area as well


specific narrow-range pH paper must be used, urine dipsticks are not suitable

(GUM can advise you of pH paper suppliers)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

4. Abnormal vaginal discharge in women of reproductive years

Figure 1: Vaginal discharge in Primary Care algorithm (adapted from ref 1)

History
See above

Not sexually active or

High risk of STIs

Low risk of STIs or

< age 25

None of the conditions listed on the right

previous STIs
recent new partner or
> 1 partner in past year
Upper reproductive tract Sx
Bloody discharge

Examination declined

Examination accepted

Uncertain Sx
Pregnant, post partum, post ToP,

post instrumentation
Recurrent Sx or failed Rx

Syndromic Rx based on Hx
Pt to return if Sx do not
improve or if they recur

Consider examination
and investigations based
on clinical findings

Examine and investigate


(see table 1)
Vaginal pH

pH > 4.5

pH 4.5

Endocervical swabs for

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea plus


bloods for HIV and syphilis
Consider a high vaginal swab
? urine dipstick
? pregnancy test

Malodour, no itch

Itch, no malodour

Bimanual examination if

PID suspected
Foreign body?
Other

Rx for BV
Eg:
METRONIDAZOLE
400 mg po b.d 5 to 7 days
or
2 g po stat

Rx for Candida
Eg:
FLUCONAZOLE
150 mg po stat
or
CLOTRIMAZOLE
500 mg PV stat

Manage as appropriate
TV suspected? d/w GUM / refer
Uncertain diagnosis? Refer

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

4. Abnormal vaginal discharge in women of reproductive years

Tests for STIs (see also appropriate chapters)


Gonorrhoea
endocervical swab (charcoal transport swab) for culture (but correct storage and/or

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

prompt transport to lab is needed)


alternatively, a NAAT test may be used (fewer transport issues compared with culture)
as a speculum is in, you might as well take an endocervical swab
but be aware this will not give antibiotic sensitivities so consider a culture swab as well if gonorrhoea

is strongly suspected
make sure the NAAT result will be a valid one (is the PPV > 90% ? d/w lab / GUM)
NB: female urines are sub-optimal for gonorrhoea NAAT tests
A vulvo-vaginal swab (which can be self-taken) may also be used to detect gonorrhoea (and Chlamydia)

Chlamydia
a NAAT should be used
urines are OK but as a speculum is in, you might as well take an endocervical swab
It can be the same swab as the gonorrhoea NAAT
A vulvo-vaginal swab (which can be self-taken) may also be used to detect Chlamydia (and gonorrhoea)

TV
Currently difficult to diagnose in GP
The easiest test in GP is a high vaginal swab (HVS)

Ideally should reach the lab within a few hours to find organisms alive (difficult++ in most GP settings)
Staining may be undertaken on the HVS in the lab to look for dead organisms
But! Whist a +ve report on a high vaginal swab can probably be relied upon, a negative report does

not exclude TV. This makes HVSs of limited value in diagnosing TV


Specific TV culture media is available but not widely used
Newer NAAT tests are in development but not yet widely available
Thus, its probably easier at the moment to refer suspected cases to GUM

HIV and syphilis


These blood tests should be taken as well if gonorrhoea and Chlamydia are tested for 3
When testing for HIV4
In general

any doctor / nurse / midwife should be able to take an HIV test


lengthy pre-test counseling is not required for HIV tests unless the Pt requests or needs it
many Pts with HIV do not know they are infected

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

4. Abnormal vaginal discharge in women of reproductive years

The patient should

be aware of the test and give consent (formal written consent is not necessary)
be aware of the 3 month window period and re-test again as necessary
be aware that simply having a test (with a subsequent negative result) should not have implications
for insurance / mortgage issues. See ref 4 for more details
You should

explain the benefits of testing (Rx saves lives, safer sex advice for future, etc)
agree details of how the results will be given to the patient (check contact details)
discuss future safer sex issues
have a process in place for fast-track referral of +ve results
See also the HIV chapter

High Vaginal Swabs (HVS)


Much used by GPs but poor evidence of them being useful!
Think of the last time you had a HVS report. What was the yield? Did it change you practice?

Or did you just get a report back saying Mixed anaerobes and wondered what to do?!!
The lab will simply report what is cultured, but reporting of commensals may lead to over-Rx and cause

undue anxiety. For example, do not diagnose BV just because Gardnerella vaginalis is found on HVS
it is found in 30 to 40% normal women
Results should be interpreted with the whole clinical picture in mind
HVSs are not always used in GU clinics partly because their usefulness is questionable, and partly because

GU clinics are able to do near-pt tests like microscopy (which can give instant results for BV, TV and Candida)
HVSs may be useful to find micro-organisms that can cause cervicitis / endometritis / salpingitis, so consider

taking an HVS in these circumstances, although the most important tests will be endocervical swabs for
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea
Why is the usefulness questionable?
some evidence that the information provided by the lab from an HVS isnt exactly what the GP thought it

would provide 5
labs may differ in what tests they do and what organisms they report, and also what advice on Rx they may give
some labs will run more tests than others, some will run more tests when detailed clinical information is given

You should discuss these points with your lab


Some evidence that

diagnostic yield of an HVS is poor except for finding Candida6, which produces characteristic symptoms
anyway (and if its not producing symptoms, you wouldnt need to treat!)
limited value of HVS in diagnosing BV (and may lead to under diagnosis if no other diagnostic criteria
are used)7

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

4. Abnormal vaginal discharge in women of reproductive years

So, should GPs take high vaginal swabs?


Not sure! Probably not routinely
They should not be a knee-jerk response to any vaginal discharge an undisciplined fishing expedition!
Whilst fishing expeditions have their place in general practice (at least to exclude certain things) the yield

of HVSs may be poor when not used appropriately


Probably useful to confirm organisms that can cause or complicate cervicitis / endometritis / salpingitis,

so take an HVS if you suspect these conditions


Useful in persistent vaginitis, for group B strep screening and in pregnancy, post-partum and

post-instrumentation infections.
Useful to prove a diagnosis of recurrent candidiasis.
Not useful for gonorrhoea and Chlamydia (these are cervical organisms take endocervical swabs instead)
If you do send a high vaginal swab, give the lab as much clinical information as possible. Do not assume that

a full range of tests will be run on your sample; most labs tailor the tests done on a sample depending on the
clinical information supplied. The more information you supply on the form, the better the yield. Dont just write
discharge!
Site sampled
Associated Sx
Infection suspected
Past / proposed Rx

Bottom line: useful in some circumstances, but think about what might be going on, what you hope to confirm
and ensure you take into account the whole clinical picture.

Management
Candida
If suspected / proven (with Sx) : Rx (see Candida chapter)
If recurrent: see Candida chapter
BV
If suspected on Sx: Rx (see BV chapter)
If recurrent: see BV chapter
TV
If suspected: refer to GUM
If proven: see TV chapter
If Rxing in GP do not forget the national STI management standards
Chlamydia / gonorrhoea
If suspected: test
If proven: see appropriate chapters
If Rxing in GP do not forget the national STI management standards
Others
As appropriate
Refer difficult cases

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

4. Abnormal vaginal discharge in women of reproductive years

References
1. The management of vaginal discharge in non genito-urinary medicine settings 2012
Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, Clinical Effectiveness Unit ISSN 1755-103X
Available at www.fsrh.org and www.bashh.org/guidelines
2. Ferris D.G, Myirjesy P, Sobel J.D, Soper D, Pavletic A, Litaker M.S.
Over-the-counter antifungal drug misuse associated with patient-diagnosed vulvovaginal candidiasis.
Obstet Gynecol. 2002; 99(3): 419425.
3. Standards for the management of Sexually Transmitted Infections 2010
Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health ISBN 978-1-905545-42-1
Available at www.medfash.org.uk and www.bashh.org.uk
4. UK national guidelines for HIV Testing 2008
British HIV Association / British Association for Sexual Health and HIV / British Infection Society
Available at www.bhiva.org
5. How is the high vaginal swab used to investigate vaginal discharge in primary care and how do GPs expectations
of the test match the tests performed by their microbiological services?
Noble et al.
Sex Transm Infect 2004; 80: 204206
6. How useful are high vaginal swabs in general practice? Results of a multicentre study
Jungmann et al.
Int J STD&AIDS 2004;15:238239
7. Can a laboratory diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis be made from a transported high vaginal swab using anaerobic
culture and microscopy of a wet preparation?
Crowley et al.
Sex Transm Infect 1998;74: 228

Further reading
The management of vaginal discharge in non genito-urinary medicine settings 2012
Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, Clinical Effectiveness Unit ISSN 1755-103X
Available at www.fsrh.org and www.bashh.org/guidelines

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

5. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Background1,2,3
Commonest cause of abnormal vaginal discharge in women of childbearing age
BV can arise and remit spontaneously in sexually active and inactive women
? Trigger*

overgrowth of mixed (mostly anaerobic) bacteria

normal vaginal lactobacilli replaced

* Recent studies have identified some bacterial species, hitherto unidentified, which seem to be specific
for BV.These may have a principle role in the aetiology of BV. Further research is ongoing.
An acidic pH (3.5 to 4.5) is associated with Lactobacilli (they produce lactic acid) = normal
An alkaline pH (> 4.5) favours the growth of the mixed anaerobes which produce the Sx of BV
Thus, there is an interplay between vaginal pH and the growth of normal or abnormal bacteria

Figure 1

LACTOBACILLI

MIXED ANAEROBES

VAGINAL pH

Associations
not specifically sexually transmitted but more likely to occur in the sexually active
hence the term sexually associated

risk if recent new sexual partner

linked with concurrent STIs


more common in black

/ smokers / vaginal douching / bubble baths / receptive cunnilingus

risk if copper IUD (unclear if this is also the case with IUS)

linked with alkaline vaginal pH (

menstruation, semen)

What protects against BV?


Combined oral contraceptive pill (oestrogen favours lactobacilli)
Condoms
Circumcised partner
BV may co-exist with other causes of vaginal discharge (TV, candida, cervicitis)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

5. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Symptoms
Offensive fishy-smelling watery discharge (malodour often noticed after UPSI

alkaline semen)

Not usually associated with soreness or itching (it is an -osis not an -itis)
May be asymptomatic (although if Rxd, women may notice a difference)

Signs
Thin grey / white homogeneous discharge
Raised vaginal pH: > 4.5 (normal is 3.5 to 4.5)

Complications
Pregnancy
BV is associated with late miscarriage, PROM, preterm birth, post-partum endometritis
PID
uncertain if BV causes PID. Whilst the prevalence of BV is high in women with PID, there are no data

on whether Rxing asymptomatic women for BV reduced their subsequent risk of developing PID
TOP
BV is associated with post-op endometritis and PID (thus screen pre-TOP)
IUCD insertion
BV more likely (but no studies of whether BV

PID after IUCD insertion)

STIs
Linked with

risk of

to

HIV transmission and increased acquisition of STIs in women

One study observed that BV was associated with non-gonococcal urethritis in

partners4

Some surgical procedures

incidence of infection following trans-vaginal hysterectomy

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

5. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Diagnosis (this is difficult in General Practice!)


There are two ways to diagnose BV
1. Most GU depts use a diagnosis based on the microscopic appearance of a Gram-stained smear
of vaginal discharge, the Ison / Hay criteria:
Grade 1: lactobacilli predominate (this is normal)
Grade 2: some lactobacilli but other organisms present (intermediate)
Grade 3: few / absent lactobacilli lots of other organisms (this is BV)
2. Another diagnostic method uses Amsels criteria: 3 out of 4 make the diagnosis...
1. Thin white homogenous discharge
2. pH of vaginal fluid > 4.5 (normal is 3.5 to 4.5 )
3. Release of fishy odour on adding alkali (10% KOH) to drop of discharge on a microscope slide
4. Clue cells (vaginal epithelial cells covered in bacteria) seen on microscopy
Both of these diagnostic criteria rely on microscopy and, in the case of Amsels criteria, the use of 10% KOH which is
very caustic and potentially dangerous outside of a laboratory setting.
Clearly, these are difficult to do in a GP setting, and the diagnosis of BV in primary care may, for the time being,
have to be a pragmatic one based simply on the presence of a malodorous discharge with a raised pH and no
soreness / irritation (see figure 2)
Some pathology labs diagnose BV on a microscope slide
prepared in the lab from a high vaginal swab, or
taken directly in GP and sent to the lab in a protective box ( similar to the old Cx smear boxes)

Talk to your lab / GU service about the locally preferred method for diagnosing BV outside of GU settings
NB:
The isolation of Gardnerella vaginalis on HVS culture should not be used to diagnose BV because it is found

in 30 to 40% normal women.


New point-of-care tests exist and perform adequately, but are not yet widely available
NAAT tests detecting BV-associated bacteria are under development

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

5. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Figure 2: Vaginal discharge in Primary Care algorithm (adapted from ref 2)

History
See above

Not sexually active or

High risk of STIs

Low risk of STIs or

< age 25

None of the conditions listed on the right

previous STIs
recent new partner or
> 1 partner in past year
Upper reproductive tract Sx
Bloody discharge

Examination declined

Examination accepted

Uncertain Sx
Pregnant, post partum, post ToP,

post instrumentation
Recurrent Sx or failed Rx

Syndromic Rx based on Hx
Pt to return if Sx do not
improve or if they recur

Consider examination
and investigations based
on clinical findings

Examine and investigate


Vaginal pH
Endocervical swabs for

pH > 4.5

pH 4.5

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea plus


bloods for HIV and syphilis
Consider a high vaginal swab
? urine dipstick
? pregnancy test
Bimanual examination if

Malodour, no itch

Itch, no malodour

PID suspected
Foreign body?
Other

Rx for BV
Eg:
METRONIDAZOLE
400 mg po b.d 5 to 7 days
or
2 g po stat

Rx for Candida
Eg:
FLUCONAZOLE
150 mg po stat
or
CLOTRIMAZOLE
500 mg PV stat

Manage as appropriate
TV suspected? d/w GUM / refer
Uncertain diagnosis? Refer

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

35

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

5. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Treatment
General advice:
Avoid vaginal douching / bubble baths / antiseptics etc, which can affect the normal vaginal flora

allowing BV to develop
Exclude STIs if Hx suggests possible risk
No need to routinely Rx male partner (but there are no data on Rxing female partner in lesbian couples)

Treatment is indicated for:


Symptomatic women
Women undergoing some surgical procedures
Some pregnant women (those with Sx)

Recommended regimens:
METRONIDAZOLE 400 mg to 500 mg po bd for 5 to 7 days (ok in pregnancy) (cost = approx 0.70) 4

or
METRONIDAZOLE 2 g po stat (BNF recommends avoiding this high dose in pregnancy) (0.30) 4

or
METRONIDAZOLE 0.75% vaginal gel pv od 5/7 (4.31) 4

or
CLINDAMYCIN 2% intravaginal cream pv od 7/7 (10.86) 4

or
TINIDAZOLE 2 g po stat (approx 2.76) 4

or
CLINDAMYCIN 300mg po bd 7/7 (approx 13.70) 4

NB:
Oral Metronidazole and Tinidazole may interact with alcohol (no data on effects of alcohol with

Metronidazole vaginal gel, but probably best avoided)


The 2 g stat dose of Metronidazole may be inferior to other doses. None are superior
Allergic to Metronidazole?

use Clindamycin cream

Clindamycin (oral and topical) may be linked with pseudomembranous colitis


Vaginal gel / creams may weaken condoms
A test of cure is not needed if Sx resolve
Non-antibiotic-based Rxs with probiotic lactobacilli or lactic acid preparations: poor evidence

no recommendations on their use to treat acute episodes can be currently made.


BV in pregnancy
Not enough evidence to recommend routine screening of all pregnant
Pregnant

with Sx of BV?

Pregnant

with incidental finding of BV but no Sx?

Pregnant

with additional risk factors for pre-term birth?

as yet

Rx as above
insufficient evidence that Rx will prevent pre-term birth
may benefit from Rx before 20/40

Metronidazole is safe to use in 1st trimester (but avoid high doses such as 2 g stat)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

5. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Breastfeeding
Systemic Metronidazole and Clindamycin enter breast milk. May be prudent, therefore, to use intravaginal Rx

Termination of Pregnancy
Risk of endometritis and PID, so BV should be screened for and Rxd if found.

Sexual partners
No need to routinely screen and Rx male partner
Unsure if female partner in WSW (lesbian) couples need concurrent Rx. ? May help.

Follow-up
ToC not needed if Sx resolve

Recurrent BV
No specifically agreed definition
Up to 70%

can get it again within 3/12 of Rx ?Why

Doesnt appear to be antibiotic resistance


Seems to simply be re-emergence of the BV associated bacteria
Normal vaginal flora (lactobacilli) dont seem to fully re-establish
Difficult to manage. Optimum Rx has not been established. Discuss this with the Pt

realistic expectations

Possible options (consider combinations of these options)

Lifestyle measure ( stop smoking, avoid douching)


Review contraceptive methods (see above)
Getting

partner Rxd just in case does not seem to make a difference no need for routine

Rx.

One study5 conducted in an STD clinic population reported a very high rate of non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU)
in male partners (> 70%) so there might be some rationale for checking for NGU, but no RCT conducted.
Suggest d/w GUM.
Management options should take into account the interplay between vaginal pH and the growth of normal or abnormal
bacteria.

Figure 1

MIXED ANAEROBES

LACTOBACILLI

VAGINAL pH

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

37

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

5. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Antibiotics.

Consider episodic, anticipatory, pulse or suppressive Rx for 4 to 6 months.3


Eg:
METRONIDAZOLE 400 mg po bd for 3/7 at start and end of menstruation

or
METRONIDAZOLE 2 g po stat once a month

or
METRONIDAZOLE 0.75% vaginal gel pv twice a week for 16 weeks

NB
Even with Metronidazole maintenance Rx, symptoms may recur after stopping Rx
Candida may occur during Rx
Acidifying agents
Mixed evidence, small studies
Two lactic acid vaginal gel products are currently available for prescription and OTC sale in the UK. See BNF
Consider using for alternate evenings for 1 month or longer if required2
Probiotic / Lactobacilli preparations
Conflicting evidence
No firm recommendation can be made at present

References
1. UK national guideline for the management of bacterial vaginosis 2012
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. The management of vaginal discharge in non genito-urinary medicine settings 2012
Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, Clinical Effectiveness Unit ISSN 1755-103X
Available at www.fsrh.org and www.bashh.org/guidelines
3. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
4. British National Formulary March 2013
BMJ Group and RPS publishing
www.bnf.org
5. An association between non-gonococcal urethritis and bacterial vaginosis and the implications for patients
and their sexual partners
Keane, et al
Genitourin Med 1997;73:373-377 doi:10.1136/sti.73.5.373

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

6. Vulvo-vaginal candidiasis

Background1
Cause
~ 92% cases: Candida albicans
~ 8% non-albicans sp
eg: C glabrata, Saccharomyces cerevesiae, C.Krusei
May respond poorly to standard antifungal courses.
can arise spontaneously or 2 to disturbance of vaginal flora (e.g. recent antibiotics)

Symptoms (not all may be present)


Vulval / vaginal itch / soreness, external dysuria, external dyspareunia (beware other causes of these Sx,

such as dermatoses, herpes, Trichomonas)


Vaginal discharge

Signs (not all may be present)


Erythema, fissures (diferential diagnosis = herpes), satellite lesions, excoriation
Discharge (typically curdy, but may be thin); generally no malodour (cf: BV)
Vulval oedema

Note:
Symptoms and signs are no guide to species
10 to 20% women without symptoms harbour Candida species (no treatment needed if no symptoms)
It is mostly uncomplicated, unless
Severe symptoms (subjective)
Pregnant
Recurrent (> 4 symptomatic episodes / year)
Non-albicans species (particularly persistent infections)
Abnormal host factors (immunosuppression, diabetes,

oestrogen levels)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

39

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

6. Vulvo-vaginal candidiasis

Diagnosis
Take a history! The majority of women may misdiagnose themselves as having Candida

and use over-the-counter treatments inappropriately2


History should include a sexual history, contraceptive use, treatments tried (including OTC) and responses,

new allergens?
Symptoms and signs (note: not specific sometimes BV, vulval dermatitis, HSV, lichen sclerosus, TV)
Investigations:
Not always needed in general practice (see figure 1)

consider empirical Rx based on Hx (see also Vaginal Discharge chapter, page 24)
if recurrent, take HVS ( request Candida species and sensitivity if chronic / recurrent) see below
If you do examine, the pH should be 4 to 4.5 (i.e. normal) if candida. If higher, think of BV or TV:

BV

malodour, generally no soreness

TV

itch, soreness, erythema. Difficult to diagnose in GP consider referral to GUM

High Vaginal Swab?


Probably not useful unless recurrent Sx (see below) or diagnosis uncertain.
See Vaginal Discharge chapter, page 24

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

6. Vulvo-vaginal candidiasis

Figure 1: Vaginal discharge in Primary Care algorithm (adapted from ref 3)

History
See above

Not sexually active or

High risk of STIs

Low risk of STIs or

< age 25

None of the conditions listed on the right

previous STIs
recent new partner or
> 1 partner in past year
Upper reproductive tract Sx
Bloody discharge

Examination declined

Examination accepted

Uncertain Sx
Pregnant, post partum, post ToP,

post instrumentation
Recurrent Sx or failed Rx

Syndromic Rx based on Hx
Pt to return if Sx do not
improve or if they recur

Consider examination
and investigations based
on clinical findings

Examine and investigate


Vaginal pH
Endocervical swabs for

pH > 4.5

pH 4.5

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea plus


bloods for HIV and syphilis
Consider a high vaginal swab
? urine dipstick
? pregnancy test
Bimanual examination if

Malodour, no itch

Itch, no malodour

PID suspected
Foreign body?
Other

Rx for BV
Eg:
METRONIDAZOLE
400 mg po b.d 5 to 7 days
or
2 g po stat

Rx for Candida
Eg:
FLUCONAZOLE
150 mg po stat
or
CLOTRIMAZOLE
500 mg PV stat

Manage as appropriate
TV suspected? d/w GUM / refer
Uncertain diagnosis? Refer

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

6. Vulvo-vaginal candidiasis

Management
General advice
Avoid local irritants and tight fitting clothes
Use emollients as soap substitute
No need to Rx male partner if he has no Sx
Offer screen for STIs if risk

Treatments
Uncomplicated acute Sx
In general
intravaginal and oral azoles = similar efficacy

little benefit other than dosing convenience, costs, Pt preference


oral Rxs may interact with other medications and are contra-indicated in pregnancy

always check pregnancy risk


topical antifungal creams

may be used in addition to oral / vaginal Rxs if there are vulval Sx3
may damage latex condoms and diaphragms warn patient
may cause local irritation, so have this in mind if irritation persists / worsens
Topical (intravaginal) Rx examples (not exhaustive)
CLOTRIMAZOLE pessary 500 mg pv stat (2.94) 4
CLOTRIMAZOLE pessary 100 mg pv x 6 nights (3.63)4
CLOTRIMAZOLE 10% vaginal cream 5 g pv stat (5.86) 4
ECONAZOLE pessary 150 mg pv x 3 nights (2.95)4
MICONAZOLE ovule 1.2 g pv stat (2.94)4
Oral Rx examples (not exhaustive)
FLUCONAZOLE 150 mg po stat (0.88)4
ITRACONAZOLE 200 mg po b.d x 1 day (3.67)4
Follow-up and test of cure unnecessary if Sx resolve

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

6. Vulvo-vaginal candidiasis

Complicated vaginal candidiasis


1. Severe symptoms whether one-off or recurrent
Repeat stat Rx 3 days later
Eg: FLUCONAZOLE 150 mg po stat: day 0 and day 3
Or CLOTRIMAZOLE 500 mg pv stat: day 0 and day 3
For symptomatic relief, consider low potency topical steroids in addition to antifungal Rx

2. Pregnant
Asymptomatic colonization with Candida sp more common not associated with low birth weight

or premature delivery.
Symptomatic candidosis more prevalent as well.
Rx
Rx if Sx. No evidence that asymptomatic women need Rx
Avoid oral agents use topical agents. No evidence that any one is better than another
may need longer courses of Rx

3. Recurrent
Definition: at least four documented episodes of Sx with resolution of Sx in-between

5% women

Cause
More likely to be host factors ( see below) than more virulent strain or re-infection
May sometimes be non-albicans species
Confirm with culture
When symptomatic, take HVS labelled ? recurrent Candida species and sensitivity please
Moderate / heavy growth should be found on at least two occasions
Consider investigating for host factors (fasting glucose, HIV test, etc)
In the past, iron deficiency was thought to be implicated, but there is no evidence for this
Rx
General advice as per uncomplicated disease
Attend to host factors (see below)
Be guided by sensitivity report
Principle of management is induction Rx (

clinical remission) followed by maintenance Rx

Eg: FLUCONAZOLE 150 mg po every 72 hours x 3 doses (induction) followed by


FLUCONAZOLE 150 mg po once a week for 6 months (maintenance)
(NB: unlicensed use)
with this regimen, approx 90% women will remain disease-free at 6 months and 40% at 1 year
Not sure about optimum duration of suppressive Rx (no trials). If recurrent disease is re-established,

consider repeating the induction and maintenance regimen


Consider CETIRIZINE 10 mg po o.d for 6 months, in women who fail to get complete resolution of Sx

with suppressive Fluconazole.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

6. Vulvo-vaginal candidiasis

4. Non-albicans species
Most are still susceptible to available Rxs; only a problem if chronic infection.
Repeated isolation of the same species of non-C. albicans yeast from the vagina despite treatment,

requires a different approach.


Suggest d/w GUM - Rxs can start to get complicated (off-license use, Rxs may not be in BNF)

5. Abnormal host factors


Diabetes
improve glycaemic control, then stat dose of FLUCONAZOLE 150 mg po is often enough
d/w GUM if difficult to manage
HIV
More frequent and more persistent if immune suppressed. Not usually a problem if established on antiretrovirals.
Rx as necessary (d/w GUM)

Oestrogen levels (

HRT and some COCs)

Consider switching to Depo -Provera or Cerazette

Alternative Rxs
Probiotics (oral or vaginal lactobacilli)
Diet
Tea-tree oil

insufficient evidence to make recommendations currently

References
1. UK National guideline on the management of vulvovaginal candidiasis 2007
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Women's use of over-the-counter antifungal medications for gynecologic symptoms
Journal of Family Practice 1996; 42(6):595600.
3. The management of vaginal discharge in non genito-urinary medicine settings 2012
Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, Clinical Effectiveness Unit ISSN 1755-103X
Available at www.fsrh.org and www.bashh.org/guidelines
4. British National Formulary Sept 2011
BMJ Group and RPS publishing
www.bnf.org

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

7. Trichomonas vaginalis (TV)

Background1

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

TV is a flagellated protozoan
Almost exclusively an STI: needs direct inoculation
Lives in vagina, urethra, under foreskin, in para-urethral glands

Males

Females

Symptoms

up to 50% have no Sx
discharge
dysuria

up to 50% have no Sx
vaginal discharge
vulval soreness / itching
dysuria

Signs

often none
urethral discharge
rarely balanoposthitis

frothy discharge (pH > 4.5)


vulvitis / vaginitis
cervicitis (strawberry Cx
seen in 2% of patients)
< 15% have no abnormal signs
(but there will be vaginal pH

Diagnosis
Prompt microscopy of vaginal discharge

motile organisms observed

Common investigation in most GU clinics but not practical in GP settings


High vaginal swab?
Must reach the lab within hours to find viable organisms for culture may not be practical in GP
Dead organisms may be stained on a high vaginal swab. Good specificity but poor sensitivity.

d/w lab the validity of results. Not all labs offer this specific staining.
Cervical cytology?
In the past, Pap smear reports sometimes used to report TV: low sensitivity so confirmation was always advised.
Most smears now utilize liquid based cytology and the national cervical screening programme is no longer

reporting infections (other than HPV)


Culture (using specific culture media) currently the gold standard. Not widely available in GP.

d/w lab / GUM


Newer NAATs are on the horizon not yet widely used. There will be issues of validity and the positive predictive

value must be known before reliability can be assigned.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

7. Trichomonas vaginalis (TV)

Complications
pre-term delivery and low birth weight
? enhanced HIV transmission

GP Management (See also the chapter on abnormal vaginal discharge, page 24)
If you suspect it
refer to GU who are currently better placed to test for it
If you find it
check the validity of the test used
it is invariably an STI and this may have implications in relationships
screen for other STIs (gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, HIV, syphilis) or refer to GUM
If you need to Rx it...
see below

Treatment
Systemic Rx advised (will cover all sites of infection)
METRONIDAZOLE 2 g po stat (avoid in pregnancy / breastfeeding)

or
METRONIDAZOLE 400 mg to 500 mg po bd 5 to 7 days

No sex until they and partner(s) have completed Rx


Test of cure only if Pt remains symptomatic or if Sx recur
Rx failure? (if reinfection ruled out)
Metronidazole allergy?

d/w / refer GUM

refer GUM

Partner Notification
Current partners should be screened for all STIs and Rxd for TV regardless of results

References
1. UK national guideline on the management of Trichomonas vaginalis 2007
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

8. Pelvic inflammatory disease

Background1
Ascending infection from cervix

endometritis, salpingitis, oophritis, tubo-ovarian abscess

Can also spread in the peritoneum

peritonitis, peri-appendicitis, peri-hepatitis

Symptoms (can be absent / intermittent / mild / severe)


Lower abdo pain, typically bilateral (+/- RUQ pain if peri-hepatitis)
Abnormal pv bleeding (intermenstrual, post-coital, menorrhagia)
Abnormal vaginal discharge (sometimes purulent)
Deep dyspareunia

Signs
Lower abdo tenderness, usually bilateral
Fever > 38C ( not always present)
PV examination

adnexal tenderness or mass


cervical motion tenderness
Cervicitis

(Can you differentiate this from an ectopy? See Chlamydia chapter)


RUQ tenderness perihepatitis (= Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome: peritoneal / lymphatic spread of GC / Chlamydia

inflammation of hepatic capsule)

Diagnosis
Clinical Sx and signs lack sensitivity and specificity (PPV of clinical diagnosis is 65 to 90% compared to laparoscopy)
Clearly not every woman can be laparoscoped, and given the risks of leaving PID untreated, it is reasonable

that if suspicious of PID on history and examination, then Rx may be given.


Differential diagnosis: see table 1 (list not exhaustive)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

47

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

8. Pelvic inflammatory disease

Table 1
Differential diagnosis of abdominal pain
in women of of reproductive age (not exhaustive)

Notes

Ectopic pregnancy

Should be excluded in all women

Acute appendicitis

Nausea and vomiting occurs in most people

with appendicitis but only 50% of PID cases


Cx excitation occurs in 1/4

with appendicitis

Endometriosis

Sx may be related to menstrual cycle

Complications of ovarian cysts ( torsion, rupture)

Often sudden onset

UTIs

Associated Sx

Irritable bowel syndrome

See NICE diagnostic criteria www.nice.org.uk

Functional pain

May be associated with longstanding Sx

Causes
STIs (such as Chlamydia or gonorrhoea)
The absence of STIs does not exclude a diagnosis of PID. Other bacteria may be involved (see below)
Mixed aerobes and anaerobes
? 2 to initial STI damage
often multiple different bacteria can be isolated

Risk factors
Young age, multiple partners, recent new partner
Past STI, past PID
Recent uterine instrumentation

Management
Delay in Rx

risks of long term sequelae (ectopic pregnancy, infertility and pelvic pain)

Hence, low threshold for prompt empirical Rx

A diagnosis of PID should be considered and Rx usually offered, in any young (< 25 years) sexually active woman
with recent onset bilateral lower abdo pain associated with local tenderness on PV exam, in whom pregnancy
has been excluded
Broad spectrum antibiotics are used, to cover most STIs and other upper genital tract pathogens

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

8. Pelvic inflammatory disease

History
remember pregnancy risk (beware ectopics)
other differential diagnoses (appendix, endometriosis, etc)
sexual Hx, contraceptive Hx
PMHx, drugs, allergies, etc

Examination
abdominal examination, speculum examination, bimanual examination

Investigations
Consider pregnancy test if sexually active
Consider urine dipstick (? UTI)
GC and Chlamydia tests (also test for other STIs, such as HIV and syphilis)
Endocervical or vulvovaginal NAAT samples for Chlamydia and GC are recommended but, if gonorrhoea is

suspected, an endocervical swab for culture should also be taken prior to Rx to check for antibiotic resistance
(get the GC culture swab to the lab promptly).
Urine NAATs can be used to check for Chlamydia (urine is a sub-optimal specimen for GC in females)
Thus, pragmatically, consider the following

endocervical or vulvo-vaginal swab for Chlamydia and GC NAAT


if GC is likely, then also take endocervical swab for GC culture
1st pass urine for Chlamydia and GC NAAT only if endocervical or vulvo-vaginal swab unavailable
Bloods for syphilis and HIV

Other tests
Mycoplasma genitalium has been associated with PID but routine screening is not yet justified

limited information on prevalence, natural Hx, Rx and cost effectiveness2


ESR / CRP may help to assess severity but wont alter immediate management

In general...
If Hx, Sx and signs lead you to think it might be PID, start Rx quickly. Partner(s) should be Rxd (see below)

abstain from sex during Rx.


If Sx severe admit under gynae (may need iv Rx).
If Sx mild / moderate refer to GU if you are unable to undertake appropriate management
If urgent appt not possible, then take the best tests you can (see above) start Rx yourself and refer pt

to GU subsequently.
The sooner Rx is started, the better.
Admission should be considered if
Cannot exclude surgical emergency
Lack of response to oral Rx ( see below)
PID in pregnancy iv Rx advisable

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

8. Pelvic inflammatory disease

Treatment
1. 1st line:
CEFTRIAXONE 500 mg i.m stat
plus
DOXYCYCLINE 100 mg po bd 14/7

this i.m regimen will be difficult for most GPs to give

plus
METRONIDAZOLE 400 mg po bd 14/7
or
OFLOXACIN 400 mg po bd.14/7 (or LEVOFLOXACIN 500 mg po o.d 14/7)
plus
METRONIDAZOLE 400 mg po bd 14/7
2. 2nd line:
MOXIFLOXACIN 400 mg po o.d 14/7 ( no additional Metronidazole needed)
(but risk liver reactions and QT interval prolongation, so only used if other agents inappropriate / failed)
NB
Metronidazole may be poorly tolerated can be stopped in mild-moderate disease if need be
If high risk of gonococcal PID, beware using quinolones increasing gonorrhoea resistance.
Better using i.m Ceftriaxone regimen (replacing it with oral cephalosporins is not recommended)
In fact, complications of gonorrhoea, such as PID, should really be referred to GUM.
Gonorrhoea is more likely to be found in 3
Contacts of gonorrhoea
young adults / urban areas / MSM / black ethnic minority populations
clinically more severe disease
Ofloxacin may be used in children 2 but PID in children needs referral.

In addition to Rx, advise...


Rest and analgesia (caution with NSAIDs and quinolones they may interact)
Whilst awaiting STI results, instigate partner notification. Refer to GUM if you cant do this.
screen current male partner for STIs and whilst awaiting results give AZITHROMYCIN 1 g po stat,

to cover possible Chlamydia infection.


Pt to avoid UPSI until they and their partner(s) have completed Rx and follow up
trace contacts within 6 month period of onset of Sx (or longer depending on sexual Hx)
Pt to seek medical advice if Sx worsen

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

8. Pelvic inflammatory disease

Follow up
Review Pt in 3 days time if not improved, review diagnosis and Rx

consider referral

Further review at end of Rx may be useful to check Sx and compliance with all advice
Repeat pregnancy test at appropriate time interval if indicated
If gonorrhoea was detected, a test of cure should be taken (see GC chapter).

You are strongly advised to involve GUM.

Complicated situations
HIV
HIV+ women can have more severe Sx of PID but do not require any different Rx if they are immunocompetent
Consider referral or
Rx in GP but check interactions with Pts HIV Rxs on www.hiv-druginteractions.org

IUD / IUS in situ?


Consider removal, especially if no improvement within 72 hours.
Decision to remove it needs to be balanced against risk of pregnancy (any UPSI in last 7/7?)

Consider emergency hormonal contraception in such situations2


PID in pregnancy
Refer gynae

Gonococcal infections
Refer GUM

General advice to patients


With prompt Rx, fertility is usually maintained but there remains a risk of future infertility,

chronic pelvic pain or ectopic pregnancy


Clinically more severe disease is associated with greater risk of sequelae
Repeat episodes of PID are associated with an exponential increase in the risks of infertility
The sooner Rx is given, the lower the risk of future fertility problems
Sexual contacts should be screened to prevent reinfection
Future use of barrier contraception will significantly reduce the risk of recurrent PID

References
1. UK national guideline for the management of pelvic inflammatory disease 2010
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Management of acute PID 2008
RCOG Green Top Guideline No 32
Available at www.rcog.org.uk
3. Health Protection Agency data
Available at www.hpa.org.uk

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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9. Epididymo-orchitis

Background1
Pain / swelling / inflammation of the epididymis +/- testicle(s)
Usually
complication of urethritis (ie: an STI)

Chlamydia, GC, NSU (esp if < 35 years old and sexually active)

Sometimes
complication of UTI (esp if > 35 years old, recent instrumentation, insertive anal sex)
viral

20 to 30% of post-pubertal men with mumps develop orchitis2


vaccination is the best policy to avoid it2
recent resurgence of mumps cases in the population, esp non-vaccinated adults born between 198286
Rarely
blood spread (Strep etc)
drugs (eg: Amiodarone)
TB (if Pt from TB area or immunosuppressed)

Symptoms / Signs
Swelling, scrotal erythema, pain
pain is usually unilateral, but can be bilateral and starts with the tail at the lower pole of the epididymis,

spreading towards the head and upper pole of the epididymis, sometimes causing inflammation of the
testis itself
swelling (+/- secondary hydrocoele) can make examination and differential diagnosis difficult.

If torsion / tumour difficult to exclude

refer (but consider STI testing and giving antibiotics also

If STI urethritis is the cause


there may be associated dysuria / urethral discharge, but sometimes the urethritis has no Sx
If UTI is the cause
there may be associated UTI Sx
Torsion the most important differential diagnosis! (Delay > 6 hours

infarction)

more likely if < 20 years old, sudden onset of pain


if you cannot fully exclude this

urgent urology referral

Tumour
1/4 tumours present with pain
refer
Mumps orchitis
Commonest complication of mumps in post-pubertal men, affecting 20 to 30% cases2
Initial headache, fever unilateral / bilateral parotid swelling... 7 to 10d later: unilateral testicular swelling.

But
30 to 40% pts with mumps do not develop parotitis2
Scrotal Sx can occur without systemic Sx
Tuberculosis
Subacute / chronic onset of scrotal swelling +/- pain , +/- systemic Sx of TB

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

9. Epididymo-orchitis

Management
History taking is vital
Suspicion of torsion / tumour

Urology. But always test for STIs and consider offering empirical antibiotics

prior to referral
STIs must always be excluded. STI more likely if...
younger age, sexual activity, no UTI Sx
urethral discharge
urine dipstick neg (or +ve for leucocytes only)
in MSM
UTIs should also be excluded. UTI more likely if...
older age, low risk sexual Hx, previous UTI / instrumentation
no urethral discharge
urine dipstick +ve for leucocytes and nitrites

In general...
Consider immediate referral to GUM for thorough investigations.
If this is not possible
check for urethritis
Sx and signs?
Consider looking for threads in 1st pass urine (see Male Urethritis chapter)
test for Chlamydia (NAAT) and gonorrhoea (NAAT or culture) in those with higher risk of GC you should

ideally test for both NAAT and GC culture


urine dipstick +/- MSU

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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9. Epididymo-orchitis

Treatment
1. ? STI
NB:

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

Whilst GPs can test for most STIs, the problem is not being able to diagnose possible

gonorrhoea instantly on microscopy. This affects your immediate management, because


although gonococcal epididymitis is rare, the Rx is different to non-gonococcal cases.
GP clues for possible gonococcal epididymitis
known contact of gonorrhoea
particularly severe Sx (Eg: purulent urethral discharge) although you cant always tell
being a member of a higher risk group for gonorrhoea3 (young adults / urban areas / MSM / black ethnic

minority populations)
With increasing antibiotic resistance to gonorrhoea, it is vital that correct management for gonorrhoea

is followed (see gonorrhoea chapter). Basically


Culture should be taken prior to Rx so antibiotic sensitivity can be monitored
All +ve cases need a test of cure after Rx
1st-line Rx is an im injection plus oral Rx
All Rx failures must be reported to the HPA
Partners must be traced and Rxd
Pragmatically, therefore, it may be easier to refer urgently to GUM. If not possible, then...
If high suspicion of non-gonoccal STI cause, give (there and then in surgery, after tests have been taken

and before results are back )


DOXYCLINE 100 mg po bd 14/7 (consider NSAIDS as well)

or
OFLOXACIN 200 mg po bd 14/7 (avoid NSAIDS interact with Quinolones)
If you suspect gonococcal epididymitis, refer to GUM.

If this is very difficult (although referral pathways should be in place) then commence Rx there and then in surgery,
after tests have been taken and before results are back:
CEFTRIAXONE 500 mg im injection stat, plus DOXYCYCLINE 100 mg po bd 14/7
i.m injections are difficult for most GPs to organize in surgery. If this is so, d/w GUM.

Ofloxacin may be used but it is vital that sensitivity testing (ie: culture, not NAAT) is taken first
(NB: ciprofloxacin does not effectively treat Chlamydia)
Ensure prompt appropriate delivery of the swab to the lab for culture
See gonorrhoea chapter for background information

In general
As with all STI management, advise patient no sexual contact during Rx and until partner(s) treated
Consider referral to GUM for partner notification
Screen for other STIs (minimum HIV, syphilis, Chlamydia, gonorrhoea)
See STI standards chapter

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

9. Epididymo-orchitis

2. ?UTI
If Hx , examination and urine dipstick suggestive, treat as for complicated UTI:
Rx: local prescribing policy (eg: OFLOXACIN 200 mg po bd for 14/7)
Confirmed UTI cause?

urinary tract should be investigated further

3. Others
TB
Three early morning urines for AAFBs, chest X ray, etc
Seek specialist advice
Mumps2
Diagnosed by mumps IgM/IgG serology
Of affected testicles, up to 50% show a degree of testicular atrophy
Rarely leads to sterility but may contribute to sub-fertility
Rx: self limiting therefore supportive Rx (rest, NSAIDs, etc). Steroids may

pain and oedema but

do not alter clinical course


General advice
rest. Sometimes Sx are severe enough to warrant a sick (fit) note
scrotal elevation / supportive underwear
follow up in 3 days to check Sx resolving (arrange to see sooner if Sx worsen)
if not improving, reassess diagnosis and Rx
Sx should be considerably better at end of Rx
If better, check all results.

If STI, check compliance with Rx and partner notification


If UTI

investigate urinary tract and refer to urology

If no better, consider alternative diagnosis / ultrasound scan / consider urology referral

References
1. 2010 UK National Guideline for the management of epididymo-orchitis
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
available at www.bashh.org/guidelines
2. Mumps orchitis
Masarani et al
J R Soc Med. 2006 Nov; 99 (11):5735.
3. Health Protection Agency data
Available at www.hpa.org.uk

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

10. Chlamydia

Background 1, 2
Genital Chlamydia is the condition of being infected with Chlamydia trachomatis,

a bacterial species within the genus Chlamydia

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

The classification is complex, but basically there are 3 species of Chlamydia that

cause disease in humans (table 1)

Table 1
Species

Serovar

Natural host

Human disease

C. psittaci

multiple

Birds, lower mammals

Psittacosis

C. pneumoniae

TWAR

Humans

Respiratory disease

C.trachomatis

A, B, C

Humans

Hyperendemic trachoma

DK

Humans

Genital infection, proctitis,


conjunctivitis, sexually acquired
reactive arthritis

L1, L2, L3

Humans

Lymphogranuloma venereum

C trachomatis is an obligate intracellular pathogen with a lifecycle of 48 to 72 hours.


Main sites of infection are the mucous membranes of the urethra, endocervix, rectum, pharynx, and conjunctiva.
Can be asymptomatic at all these sites (and uncertain how long for)
Transmission is by direct inoculation of infected secretions from one mucous membrane to another.

Epidemiology2,3
Commonest bacterial STI in the UK: highest incidence in young adults.
Approx 3 to 7% of sexually active women under the age of 24 and men aged between 20 to 24 may be

currently infected. See Health Protection Agency website for latest statistics www.hpa.org
2/3 of sexual partners of Chlamydia +ve individuals will also be Chlamydia +ve
Risk factors for infection
Age under 25
More than 1 partner in the last year, or a recent new sexual partner (the latter is more significant)
Lack of consistent use of condoms
Untreated infections may persist for > 1 year (in 50% people). About 95% will clear spontaneously after 4 years.

Latent long-term persistence is possible.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

10. Chlamydia

Symptoms / signs
Women
Asymptomatic in 70%
Vaginal discharge
Post coital or intermenstrual bleeding (always suspect Chlamydia esp if this is a new Sx in a young adult)
Dysuria (beware sterile pyuria reported on an MSU it may be Chlamydia)
Lower abdo pain
Deep dyspareunia
Cervicitis (can you tell the difference from an ectopy? Some clues...)

Cervical Ectopy

Cervicitis

Appearance

Flat red patch around the cervical os

Oedematous congested appearance, friable


and bleeds easily (contact bleeding)

Notes

May be prone to infection (? greater exposure


of susceptible columnar epithelial cells).

Cause

No pus present

Mucopurulent discharge sometimes present

Temporary hormonal influences (puberty,


pregnancy, COC pill)
extension of the soft
glandular and more vascular endocervical
epithelium, over the paler epithelium of the
ectocervix

May be normal
Infections
(most often Chlamydia, sometimes gonorrhoea
and others)

Men
Asymptomatic in over 50% in community settings
Dysuria (beware sterile pyuria it may be Chlamydia)
Urethral discharge, urethral discomfort, epididymo-orchitis, sexually acquired reactive arthritis
Rectal infections usually asymptomatic, but may cause anorectal discomfort and discharge

(see Proctocolitis chapter LGV )

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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10. Chlamydia

Complications2
Its estimated that Chlamydia complications cost > 100 million annually in UK and most health economic valuations
show Chlamydia screening to be cost effective
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
With no Rx, 10 to 40%

will develop PID

Risk of developing PID increases with each recurrence of Chlamydia infection


PID can lead to tubal factor infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain
See PID chapter
Epididymo-orchitis
Evidence of Chlamydia causing male infertility is limited
See Epididymo-orchitis chapter
Adult conjunctivitis
Autoinoculation or splash from genital fluids
Unilateral or bilateral follicular conjunctivitis 1 to 2 weeks after exposure
Neonatal conjunctivitis
transmission to neonate from mothers cervix at birth
can also cause pneumonitis (hence systemic Rx is needed)
see ophthalmia neonatorum chapter
Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis SARA
men > women
polyarthritis of weight-bearing joints
see SARA chapter
Perihepatitis (Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome)
inflammation of the hepatic capsule

RUQ pain, sometimes referred to right shoulder

if chronic, adhesions (like violin strings) may form between the liver capsule and abdominal wall
usually in

with PID, suggesting intra-abdominal spread, but blood or lymph spread is a possibility

Pregnancy and the neonate

risk premature rupture of membranes, pre-term delivery and low birth weight

risk intra-partum pyrexia and late post partum endometritis

risk post-abortal PID

Neonatal infections exposed in birth canal during delivery

30 to 50% exposed infants develop infection.

eyes, lungs, nasopharynx, genitals

risk if mother Rxd before delivery

Currently there is no UK consensus on whether pregnant women should be screened for Chlamydia4

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

10. Chlamydia

Whom to test?
Those with symptoms, including neonates (see above)
Opportunistic screening of those in whom prevalence is known to be highest: the under 25s or with

> 2 sexual partners in the previous 12 months, or a recent change of sexual partner
All women undergoing a termination of pregnancy
Sexual partners of Chlamydia +ve pts
Those previously diagnosed with Chlamydia

When to test?
The offer of testing can be made easily during most GP consultations especially those discussing relationships

and sexual health4 (Eg: pill checks). Advise pt to be tested once a year or when changing sexual partners
Expert opinion currently suggests a two week window period after exposure, when using NAAT tests5

Which test?
Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques (NAATs) a very sensitive way of detecting DNA have now replaced

Enzyme Immuno Assays


Reassure Pt they might not necessarily need to be examined non invasive tests may be used if appropriate
Can utilize a swab or urine. A rapidly developing field so d/w GUM and local lab re current advice
Swab in

using a speculum to see the cervix, rotate swab 360 inside cervical os.
If os is stenosed, then just swab the external os 360 and include vaginal secretions.
Alternatively, the Pt may take a self-taken lower vaginal swab ( see below) which avoids the need for examination
and speculum (there are pros and cons to this). In terms of identifying Chlamydia, it is as good a specimen
as a cervical swab and better than a first-void urine (Gaydos C. et al JCM 2010; 48:3236.).
Swab in

insert 2 to 4 cm into urethra and rotate once.


this is very uncomfortable for males and 1st pass urine is preferable.
Urine

Ok for both

and

Chlamydia NAAT tests (cf: gonorrhoea NAAT which is not optimal in female urines)

Send 15 to 20 ml of first-void urine (not mid stream) to lab


Hold urine > 1 hour prior to sample.
Pharyngeal samples? Not currently routine d/w GUM
Rectal samples should be considered if indicated by Hx (eg: if Lymphogranuloma venereum is suspected

(see Proctocolitis chapter). Refer +ve cases to GUM


There is a strong argument for offering rectal NAAT swabs in asymptomatic men practicing receptive anal intercourse.
NAAT samples are still suitable for testing several days after collection. This, together with their non-invasive

collection methods, makes them useful in non-specialist settings


Note: although very accurate, NAATs are not 100% sensitive or specific and confirmation of a reactive test is

currently recommended. Your lab should do this automatically before issuing a final report

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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10. Chlamydia

How to take a self-taken lower vaginal swab


Insert the swab into the vagina, about two inches, and gently rotate the swab for 10 to 30 seconds
Place swab in appropriate transport medium

Ref: Chlamydia trachomatis UK Testing Guidelines 2010 BASHH CEG www.bashh.org/guidelines

What to do with a +ve result


The management of STIs in any setting, including General Practice, should conform to national standards6

See STI Management Standards chapter.


Local policies vary. You should discuss locally agreed management plans (including partner notification)

with your GU clinic


All those found to be +ve for Chlamydia should be tested for other STIs (a minimum STI screen is: gonorrhoea,

Chlamydia, HIV and syphilis, with an appreciation of appropriate window periods)


Options in General Practice. See STI Management Standards chapter.
Rx pt yourself (see below) and attend to partner notification and all follow-up. Test for other STIs including HIV

or
Rx pt yourself (see below) and refer to GU for partner notification and screening for other STIs.
GU should see patients at least 1/52 after Rx finishes (if antibiotics are still in the system it will spoil the pick

up of other STIs).
The concern, however, is that the patient might not bother to attend GUM once they have been Rxd.

You should d/w Pts the rationale behind this (and document the discussion). Partners need appropriate
management and the index Pt should be screened for other STIs.
or
Refer all pts to GU medicine. They will arrange Rx and screening for other STIs, along with all partner notification.

Treatment
Uncomplicated infection (men and women): 1st line Rx
DOXYCYCLINE 100 mg po b.d 7/7 contraindicated in pregnancy (= 2.00 approx)7

or
AZITHROMYCIN 1 g po stat (= 9.65 )7 useful where Rx compliance may be an issue

Alternative regimens
ERYTHROMYCIN 500 mg po b.d 10 14/7

or
OFLOXACIN 200 mg po b.d or 400mg po o.d for 7/7

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

10. Chlamydia

Pregnancy (or risk of pregnancy) and breastfeeding


AZITHROMYCIN 1g p.o stat
BNF advises its use only if no alternatives available. Alternatives ( see below) are not without their drawbacks

so pragmatically Azithromycin may well be the best choice and current data indicates this to be safe
Taking compliance, tolerability, and efficacy into account, it is recommended as a pragmatic option by the

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network 2009 Chlamydia guideline (see www.sign.ac.uk)


Off label prescription, so d/w Pt

or
ERYTHROMYCIN 500 mg po qds 7/7 (but compliance may be an issue

nausea)

or
ERYTHROMYCIN 500 mg po b.d 14/7 (compliance may be an issue)

or
AMOXYCILLIN 500 mg po t.d.s 7/7 (in vitro studies show Penicillins may induce latency and reactivation

of infection later on. Suggest d/w GUM)

Complications
IUD / IUS
If Chlamydia +ve at pre-fitting screen, Rx it first. It may be wise to re-test for Chlamydia (6 weeks after Rx)

to ensure eradication prior to fitting the IUD / IUS8


If Chlamydia (or gonorrhoea or a purulent cervicitis) is found in a Pt with an IUD/IUS in situ, it does not necessarily

need to be removed if the Pt wishes to keep it.9 Rx the infection and review if not improving.
If Chlamydia is found in an asymptomatic woman with an IUD / IUS in situ, the optimum management (in terms

of which antibiotics) is not yet established.10 A stat dose of Azithromycin 1 g orally might well be adequate,
but clearer advice may be available in due course.
In a woman with symptomatic PID, current FSRH and RCOG advice would be to leave an intrauterine device

in situ unless there is poor response to treatment and this advice would imply that the IUD can be left in situ
in asymptomatic cases.
PID
Epididymo-orchitis
SARA

see appropriate chapters

Ophthalmia neonatorum
Adult conjunctivitis
Rx as for genital infections with systemic Rx
Screen for genital infection
Partner notification needed

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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10. Chlamydia

General issues
See STI Management Standards chapter
Give pt written information (this is shown to

rates of reinfection)

Allow the Rx time to work


Tell pt NO sex (not even with a condom), including oral sex, or any genital-mucous membrane contact,

until they and their partner(s) have been Rxd. There is a risk of reinfection, otherwise.
If Azithromycin was used, wait 7 days after the stat dose before resuming sex, even if both index pt and

partner are Rxd at the same time.


Do not forget the contact(s)!!
Partner notification must be attended to
Practice nurses can do this as well as GUM health advisers providing they have been trained and are

supported by local GUM health advisers11


You might consider giving the patient a short note on headed paper detailing diagnosis and Rx, for partners

to show their own GP or GU clinics. Alternatively, a generic Partner Notification slip is available in Appendix 1
Outcomes should be documented.
GUM is often best placed to do this notification work, so consider referral.
If you see a Chlamydia contact in your surgery
Consider epidemiological treatment (Azithromycin 1 g po stat is easiest) after taking a test for Chlamydia

and other STIs. Rxs should be free (see STI Standards chapter)
or
If they decline the epidemiological Rx, then test them (for all STIs) and advise them to wait for a negative

Chlamydia result before resuming sex with the index patient.


or
Refer to GUM
Discuss safer sex practices for the future consider repeat testing in a few months (esp if new sexual partner)

Partner notification see Appendix 1


Partner notification should be pursued in all patients identified with Chlamydia infection, preferably by a

Healthcare professional trained in partner notification


Action and outcomes should be documented
Offer patients a choice of who will deal with partner notification issues

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

10. Chlamydia

Look-back intervals
We do not know how long Chlamydia can be carried without symptoms; arbitrary cut offs are taken.
Look-back intervals for Chlamydia partner notification12
Male with urethral symptoms all contacts since and in the 4 weeks prior to the onset of symptoms
Male with symptoms in other anatomical sites (rectal, throat, eye)
All females
All asymptomatic patients

All contacts since and in


the 6 months prior to the
onset of symptoms

Common sense needs to be used in assessing which sexual partners may have been at risk in these situations,
and longer look-backs may be needed if appropriate.
Those at risk should be informed and invited to attend for evaluation and epidemiological Rx as above
Follow up
A follow-up telephone call with the index Pt one week after Rx can be useful to
Check partner notification
Check compliance with advice and re-Rx if necessary
Reinforce health education
Reminder about whether or not a test of cure needs to be performed ( see below)

Consider re-testing patients 3 to 12 months later (sooner if a new sexual partner)


Test of cure
Not routinely recommended if standard 1st-line Rx was given
Consider a test of cure if anything other than 1st line Rx was given
Do perform a test of cure if
pregnant (

efficacy of antibiotics): test 5 weeks after Rx ends (6 weeks if Azithromycin was used)

if non-compliance with advice is suspected

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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10. Chlamydia

References
1. Sexually Transmitted Infections (4th Ed) 2008
Holmes et al.
Published by McGraw Hill 2008 ISBN 978-0-07-141748-8
2. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
3. 2006 UK National Guideline for the management of genital tract infection with Chlamydia trachomatis
Horner PJ and Boag F
British Association for Sexual Health and HIV Clinical Effectiveness Group www.bashh/guidelines
4. Screening and treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis infections
Kalwij S, Macintosh M, Baraister P
BMJ 2010;340:c1915
5. BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group statement on Chlamydia window period May 2008
Available at www.bashh/guidelines
6. Standards for the management of Sexually Transmitted Infections 2010
Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health ISBN 978-1-905545-42-1
Available at www.bashh.org
7. BNF Sept 2011
BMJ group and RPS publishing
www.bnf.org
8. Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare Clinical Effectiveness Unit
Members enquiry response Ref 2533 December 2008
Available at www.fsrh.org (removed from website after 3 years)
9. Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare Clinical Effectiveness Unit
Members enquiry response Ref 2521 November 2008
Available at www.fsrh.org (removed from website after 3 years)
10. Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare Clinical Effectiveness Unit www.fsrh.org/
Personal communication February 2012
11. Partner notification of Chlamydia infection in primary care: randomised controlled trial and analysis
of resource use
Low N et al. BMJ 2006;332:14
12. McClean H, Radcliffe K, Sullivan AK, Ahmed-Jushuf I. British Association for
Sexual Health and HIV. 2012 Statement on Partner Notification for Sexually Transmissible Infections.
See: www.bashh.org/guidelines

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

11. Gonorrhoea

The complexities of managing patients with gonorrhoea in General Practice make referral
to GUM strongly recommended

Background1
Gonorrhoea is the condition of being infected with the Gram-negative diplococcus

Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Main sites of infection are the mucous membranes of the urethra, endocervix, rectum,

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

pharynx, and conjunctiva


Transmission is by direct inoculation of infected secretions from one mucous membrane to another
Gonorrhoea facilitates the transmission of HIV2

Symptoms
Men
Urethral infection produces symptoms most of the time (urethral discharge in > 80%, dysuria in > 50%)

starting within 2 to 5 days of exposure


Infections may occasionally be asymptomatic (esp in pharynx and rectum)

Women
Endocervical infection is often asymptomatic (up to 50%) but may present as abnormal vaginal discharge
Rarely, it may cause intermenstrual bleeding or menorrhagia
Infections may be occasionally be asymptomatic (esp in pharynx and rectum)

Complications (uncommon, but can be serious)


PID, epididymo-orchitis, prostatitis, local abscesses, disseminated spread, neonatal infection

Diagnosis1,2,3
Gonorrhoea is diagnosed by detecting Neisseria gonorrhoeae at an infected site
Tests should be taken no earlier than 3 days after the sexual contact. Conventionally, testing for gonorrhoea

(and Chlamydia) is recommended 14 days after the contact


There is no evidence to support widespread unselected screening for gonorrhoea in the community
It is vital that you talk to your local laboratory and GUM clinic / Level 3 STI service, to understand gonorrhoea

tests in community settings. Basically...


The prevalence of gonorrhoea varies around the country and this will affect the reliability of the test used
Gonorrhoea is more likely to be found in4

Contacts of gonorrhoea
Young adults / urban areas / MSM / black ethnic minority populations
Different testing methods are available, but all should be reliable (a positive result should give a positive

predictive value of > 90%)


The specimen type and anatomical site of sampling should be validated for the test used.
The reliability of test results, patient care pathways and management options, including partner notification,

should be understood by all parties.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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11. Gonorrhoea

Two main diagnostic methods


Culture

Pros:
antibiotic susceptibility testing can be carried out (essential +++)
resistance can be monitored
Cons:
not as sensitive as NAATs
delicate organism swabs require prompt transport to the lab. May not be viable if delay in reaching lab
(
false negative result)
requires a swab urine is not suitable
Nucleic acid amplification techniques (NAATs)

Pros:
generally more sensitive than culture
some specimens can be non-invasive. Eg: 1st pass urine can be used in men and self-taken vaginal
swabs in women. (NB: urine is not optimal in women)
can also detect Chlamydia on the same specimen
Cons:
antibiotic susceptibility testing cannot be carried out
because they are so sensitive, may get false +ves from contamination or non-gonococcal Neisseria species
lower sensitivity in female urine ( thus it is not an optimal specimen in women; vulvo-vaginal swabs
or endocervical swabs are better)
Before a gonorrhoea NAAT service is offered, a care pathway, which includes notifying the patient of the result,

appropriate treatment and partner notification, needs to be in place.2


Increasing antibiotic resistance means it is vital to have antibiotic susceptibility testing and resistance surveillance.

Thus
culture must be taken from all patients with NAAT positive results before Rx
all Rxd cases should have a test of cure (see below)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

11. Gonorrhoea

Management
Increasing antibiotic resistance prompted a change to the UK treatment of gonorrhoea in 2011
Screen for other STIs (minimum: Chlamydia, HIV, syphilis)
Because...
1st -line Rx is an im injection (and oral Rx) and
All NAAT +ve result should have culture taken prior to Rx and
Partner notification must be instigated and
All Rxd cases need a test of cure and
All Rx failures must be reported to the Health Protection Agency to keep an eye on any developing resistance

...it is more appropriate for non-specialist settings to refer all +ve gonorrhoea cases to GUM

Treatments
Referral to GUM is advised. However, if difficult to arrange, then Rx is:
Uncomplicated anogenital infection in adults
1. CEFTRIAXONE 500 mg as a stat i.m injection plus AZITHROMYCIN 1 g orally stat
(Azithromycin is given regardless of any Chlamydia results, to boost the Ceftriaxone)
2. Alternative regimens (d/w lab and GUM)
CEFIXIME 400 mg orally stat

or
SPECTINOMYCIN 2 g im stat

...all need AZITHROMYCIN 1 g po stat as well

or
CEFOTAXIME 500 mg im stat

Note
Ceftriaxone is supplied as a powder which is reconstituted with 1% Lidocaine solution. A 1 g vial of Ceftriaxone

should be mixed with 3.5 ml 1% Lidocaine solution; half of the resulting solution is then given by deep
intra-muscular injection. Do NOT give this intravenously.
Cefixime and other oral cephalosporins have demonstrated repeated Rx failures and should only be

used if im injection is contraindicated or refused. You are strongly advised to d/w GUM
Quinolones should not be used (resistance++) unless the infection is known to be Quinolone sensitive.

If so, use CIPROFLOXACIN 500 mg po stat or OFLOXACIN 400 mg po stat.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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11. Gonorrhoea

Complicated infections
Refer to GUM

Partner notification see Appendix 1


Partner notification should be pursued in all patients identified with gonococcal infection, preferably by a trained
Health Adviser in GU Medicine. Action and outcomes should be documented.
Male with symptomatic urethral infection:

all partners in past 2 weeks

Male and female patients with infections at other sites:

all partners in past 3 months

Male and female patients with asymptomatic infections:

all partners in past 3 months

Longer look-back periods rarely necessary.

Follow Up and Test of Cure


Follow-up should take place to confirm compliance with advice, resolution of symptoms and partner
notification issues
Test of cure is needed in all patients
If using NAATs, test 2 weeks after Rx. If +ve

send culture

If using culture, test > 72 hours after Rx

It is vital that resistance is monitored, so any cases of failure on cephalosporin Rx should be reported to
the Health Protection Agency. GU clinics can access the appropriate website.

References
1. UK national guideline for the management of gonorrhoea in adults 2011
C. Bignell and M. FitzGerald
International Journal of STD & AIDS 2011; 22: 541547
2. Guidance for gonorrhoea testing in England and Wales
Health Protection Agency 2010
Available at www.bashh.org/guidelines
3. Gonorrhoea Testing Guideline draft 2012
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org/guidelines
4. Health Protection Agency
www.hpa.org.uk

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

12. Genital Herpes

Background1, 2, 3
Usually presents as:
multiple painful ulcers (but herpes infection is often asymptomatic, or symptoms

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

are not recognized)


beware a single painless ulcer ( primary syphilis?)

Herpes information
Two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV) cause genital ulcers: HSV types 1 and 2
Common perception that HSV-1

oral and HSV-2

genitals, but...

Both HSV 1 and 2 can infect mouth and/or genitals (because of oral sex / autoinoculation)
HSV is transmitted by close physical contact when an already infected individual is shedding the virus
Shedding can happen sporadically and not just when there are symptoms
In fact, most cases of HSV transmission occur without symptoms!
Infection is lifelong, with periodic episodes of symptoms

Definitions

Initial episode

Recurrent episode

1st episode with either


HSV-1 or HSV-2

Recurrence of clinical Sx of pre-existing HSV-1


or 2 infection, after a period of symptom latency

Primary infection
1st infection with either HSV-1
or HSV-2, with no pre-existing
antibodies to either type

Disease
episodes

Non-primary infection
1st infection with either HSV-1 or HSV-2,
with pre-existing antibodies to the other type

Infection

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Primary infection
This is the first time the virus is acquired, but it may not necessarily result in symptoms
In fact, most infections are acquired without symptoms (80% of people who are +ve for HSV type-specific

antibodies are unaware that they have been infected)


If symptoms do occur, this first attack tends to be longer and more severe than future recurrences
Prior infection with HSV-1 modifies the Sx of 1st infection by HSV-2
After the 1 infection, the virus establishes in local sensory ganglia, reactivating periodically and appearing

subsequently at the skin surface (where it may or may not produce symptoms)
HSV replication occurs much more frequently then previously thought, with the virus trickling down the sensory

nerve like a slowly dripping tap. Viral replication at the dermal level is held in check by local lymphocytes4
Once in a while the local immune response does not hold the virus in control and the virus manages to replicate

in the dermis.
This viral replication explains the concept of asymptomatic viral shedding (and subsequent risk of onward transmission)
If and when symptoms do occur, they can be in any area covered by the sacral dermatomes. Typically the lesions

are ulcers, but they may be innocuous fissures, abrasions, or even mild erythema.

Why most people dont realise they have herpes


Infections (acquired and transmitted) are often asymptomatic
Symptoms can be subtle not identified as herpes by Pt (or clinician!)
HSV isnt on clinicians radar, therefore not tested for

Symptoms (if they occur) of primary genital infection


Constitutional malaise febrile flu-like illness lasting 5 to 7 days. More common in 1 infection.
Non-primary infections are less likely to have constitutional or severe Sx
Tingling / neuropathic pain in genital area, buttocks or legs (

sacral dermatomes)

Extensive bilateral crops of genital blisters, ulcers or fissures (cf the lesions of recurrent genital herpes,

which, like those of herpes zoster, are usually unilateral)


Tender inguinal lymphadenitis
May get local oedema
Untreated, a first episode may last 3 weeks or so
Differential diagnosis: cystitis (

external dysuria), candida, shingles, lichen sclerosus

Complications
2 infection of lesions (

Candida, Strep )

Auto-inoculation to fingers and adjacent skin


urinary retention (may be 2 to severe local pain, or may rarely be due to autonomic neuropathy)
aseptic meningitis

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

12. Genital Herpes

Recurrent episodes
As with the initial episode, there may or may not be symptoms
If there are symptoms, they tend to be milder than with the initial episode
Prodrome (local skin tingling, sciatic nerve pain) occurs up to 48 hours before lesions appear in 1/2 Pts
Lesions are similar to initial episode, but smaller area involved and lesions heal more quickly
Main complication is psychological, esp if frequent symptomatic recurrences
Most herpes is transmitted without symptoms ( asymptomatic viral shedding)
In HIV+ve pts, both asymptomatic and symptomatic shedding are increased

Management of initial episode


Consider referral to GU same day. If urgent (same / next day) appt not possible, then:
Swab base of lesion (pop blister if necessary) for HSV using a viral swab
Virus typing (to differentiate HSV type 1 from type 2) should be obtained will help with prognosis,

counseling and management


Check with your lab which swab and which test (culture? NAAT?)

HSV NAAT : DNA detection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) increases HSV detection rates by
11 to 71% compared with virus culture
HSV culture: still used in some centres but will miss approximately 30% of PCR positive samples
(most significantly patients presenting with late or with mild recurrent disease).
HSV serology?

Not routinely done in General Practice d/w GUM if needed


Must be type-specific and needs careful interpretation (IgM detection is an unreliable indicator of recent infection).
Saline bathing (1 tsp salt in 1 pint warm water) prn may ease Sx
Consider topical anaesthetics (Eg: LIDOCAINE 5% ointment) if very painful useful prior to micturition
Oral analgesia
Topical anti-virals are less effective than oral agents. Combined topical and oral Rx?

no benefit

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Oral antiviral Rxs


Indicated within 5 days of the start of the episode, or
While new lesions are still forming, or
If systemic Sx persist

ACICLOVIR 200 mg po 5 x day for 5 days (2.03)5


or
ACICLOVIR 400 mg po TDS for 5 days
or
VALACICLOVIR 500 mg po bd for 5 days (19.51)5
or
FAMCICLOVIR 250 mg po TDS for 5 days (107.00)5
No evidence of benefit from courses longer than 5 days, but worth reviewing Pt after 5 days and continuing Rx

if new lesions still appearing and/or complex disease (eg neurological Sx, severe constitutional symptoms, etc)
Complications?
d/w / refer to GUM
consider admitting if severe (Eg: urinary retention, cannot swallow oral Rx)
Follow up at GU in 2 to 3 weeks (

pt education / full STI screen)

Tell pt to report to GU sooner if Sx not improving

Management of recurrent episodes


Median symptomatic recurrence rate after a symptomatic 1st episode is:
HSV 2: 0.34 recurrences per month ( = roughly 4 episodes / year)
HSV 1: 0.08 recurrences per month ( = roughly 1 episode / year)
Most HSV outbreaks decline in frequency over time
Prodromal Sx (local skin parasthesia, sciatic nerve pain) occur up to 48 hours before appearance of lesions
Lesions are milder than the initial episode, with faster resolution
As Sx are mild and self limiting, management should be made in partnership with the patient.
Options are:

1. Supportive Rx only
saline bathing, topical petroleum jelly, Lidocaine ointment, etc , for a few days prn

2. Episodic Rx
By the time the pt presents for medical care, the lesions are often healing and antiviral Rx will have

missed the boat.


Thus, give prescription for oral Rx as a standby for next episode and tell pt to start Rx at prodrome

(if they can recognise it)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

12. Genital Herpes

Options
ACICLOVIR 200 mg po 5x day for 5/7 or
ACICLOVIR 400 mg po tds for 3 5 /7 or
VALACICLOVIR 500 mg po bd for 5/7 or
FAMCICLOVIR 125 mg po bd 5/7 or
ACICLOVIR 800 mg po tds for 2/7 or
FAMCICLOVIR 1 g po bd for 1/7 or
VALACICLOVIR 500 mg po bd 3/7
Head-to-head studies show no advantage of one Rx over another, or of 5-day versus shorter duration Rxs.
3. Suppressive Rx regular daily dosing for several months (see below). Options are...
ACICLOVIR 400 mg po bd or
ACICLOVIR 200 mg po qds or
VALACICLOVIR 500 mg po od or
FAMCICLOVIR 250 mg po bd
NB:
The full suppressive effect is usually only obtained 5 days into treatment.
Ideally, make sure you have a diagnosis before starting long term Rx. The decision to start suppressive Rx

is a subjective one, balancing the frequency of attacks against the cost and inconvenience of Rx.
Suppressive Rx should be discontinued after a maximum of 12 months to reassess symptom episode frequency.

The minimum period of assessment should include 2 further attacks. Patients who continue to experience
unacceptably high rates of recurrence may restart suppressive Rx.
Monitoring of patients with no underlying liver or kidney problems is not routinely required regardless of the length

of continuous therapy6
The best strategy for managing an individual Pt may change over time according to recurrence frequency,

Sx severity and relationship status.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Pregnancy and HSV


Danger! risk of neonatal infection. Seek GUM advice in all cases
Neonatal HSV is usually acquired during delivery from maternal viral shedding
Its most likely to occur with new maternal acquisition of HSV in the final trimester
It is rare but can be catastrophic with morbidity and mortality
Sx appear in the neonate 2 to 28 days after delivery:

vesicles, jaundice, encephalitis, DIC

If you have a pregnant woman with herpes, ask yourself:


Is this a 1st episode or a recurrence? (but this may be difficult to establish)
Which trimester?

...then refer or d/w GUM

Management of first episode HSV in pregnancy


1st and 2nd trimester?
Manage Pts according to clinical need
consider Aciclovir orally for 5/7 if needed
although it is not licensed for pregnancy, there is substantial clinical evidence over many years to support its use
anticipate vaginal delivery at term
inform midwife. Vigilance for HSV lesions will be needed at delivery.
daily suppressive Rx (Aciclovir 400 mg po tds) from 36 weeks may be considered

3rd trimester? (Beware! risk of neonatal infection)


if in labour admit to labour ward and inform admitting doctor. LSCS likely to be needed
if not in labour
Refer to GUM. Inform Obstetricians / midwives
LSCS may still be needed, especially if within 6/52 of delivery (can still be shedding virus at delivery,

even if no visible lesions).


Continuous oral Aciclovir in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy reduces risks of HSV recurrences at term

Management of HSV recurrences in pregnancy


Obstetrician should be informed if Hx of recurrent genital HSV need to be vigilant for vulval lesions at delivery
No role for regular viral swabs in late pregnancy (does not predict shedding at term)
Symptomatic recurrences are likely to be brief, so aim for vaginal delivery if no lesions at labour
Continuous oral Aciclovir in last 4 weeks of pregnancy may be beneficial (refer to GUM)
If vaginal delivery was undertaken whilst HSV lesions were present at birth, then community midwife and

GP should be informed

look out for signs of neonatal HSV in baby subsequently (d/w Paeds)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

12. Genital Herpes

Prevention of acquisition of infection in pregnancy


Consider taking a Hx in all pregnant women at booking re Hx of HSV themselves (or in partner)
Remember, sexual partners may change during pregnancy
Discuss using condoms
Discuss risk from oro-genital sex if partner has Hx of cold sores (often overlooked)

Asymptomatic viral shedding from genitals


More likely in first 12 months after infection
More likely if symptomatic recurrences
More likely in HSV type 2 than type 1
Shedding diminishes over time
Shedding may be reduced with suppressive Rx

Preventing transmission
Condoms may help
Suppressive Rx helps

transmission
viral shedding and reduces transmission by 50%

No vaccines currently. Trials ongoing. BASHH does not support the use of unauthorized or unlicensed

vaccines outside of clinical trails.

Counseling
Significant psychological distress sometimes
Vital Pts receive appropriate advice. Refer to GUM if youre not able to give this
Patients who have failed to adjust to the diagnosis after a year should be considered for more intensive

counselling interventions
Partner notification may help, esp in discussing the asymptomatic nature of infection (see below)
A criminal prosecution7 for the reckless transmission of HSV (August 2011) prompted a statement from BASHH

see below. BASHH is currently working with the Crown Prosecution service regarding this subject.

Management of sexual partners


Given the fact that infection with HSV is often latent, there are no specific look-back periods
Thus there are no specific partner notification recommendations, unless the sexual partner has symptoms
If the index patient wishes, it may, however, be useful to see their current sexual partners to give further

explanation, education and advice


Note the criminal prosecution in 2011. You may wish to discuss the issues set out in the BASHH statement below

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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BASHH statement regarding criminal prosecution for HSV transmission 2011


BASHH has prepared the following statement endorsed by its Board to summarise the specialty position
regarding the recent Golding prosecution.
Herpes simplex is extremely common. Most people will catch HSV-1 during their lives and 12.5% of women and
4% of men will catch HSV-2. Most HSV-2 infections and many HSV-1 infections will be genital. The infection is
usually caught from undiagnosed individuals many of whom will be asymptomatic at the time of transmission.
First time symptoms are often mild, and may be so trivial that they are ignored. Only about a third of those infected
will notice any symptoms at the time of their infection and only a proportion of these will go to a doctor or clinic
at this time. Minor symptoms can be difficult to diagnose and negative test results do not necessarily preclude
the possibility of infection.
Whatever the site of infection:
Herpes simplex can occasionally cause problems which require medical input.
The most frequent problems, when they occur, are short lived urinary complications during primary illness.
Recurrent infections can occasionally cause complications, and very rarely be life-threatening, but they are

extremely rare in the UK.


Most life-threatening infections are in newborns when the mother has only recently been infected towards

the end of pregnancy. These complications are very rare in the UK.
Herpes simplex viruses remain in the body and may cause recurrent symptoms so it is important for patients to
understand the possible ways in which it can be caught and may be passed on. The BASHH guideline on the
management of genital herpes explains the important facts that should be given to patients and what they can
do to reduce transmission these will include learning to recognise recurrences (with limited selective abstention
from sex) and the use of condoms. The guideline also explains that regular use of antiviral drugs may also be
useful to reduce transmission risks.
Health care professionals are also advised to discuss with patients the issue of how to inform current and future
sexual partners. There is reason to believe that in some cases informing a partner may reduce the risk of
transmission. It may be that where both partners are aware that one of them is infected they will be able to work
together to make transmission less likely. Because of the risk of mother to baby transmission during childbirth
from a newly infected woman, those who have been diagnosed should be advised to take care not to infect their
partners in the weeks leading up to delivery.
Some patients may be alarmed by the possibility of prosecution if they infect partners. This has several important
public health implications. It is in their own interest, as well as the public interest, that they are diagnosed, treated
and advised if they have genital herpes. Fear of prosecution is not helpful in this respect.
BASHH is currently working with the Department of Health to clarify the legal situation and to ensure that the
Crown Prosecution Service appreciate the negative consequences for public health that would result from
individuals being unwilling to seek help because they fear prosecution.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

12. Genital Herpes

Pt information on herpes
BASHH is producing Pt information leaflets see www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
The Herpes Virus Association see www.herpes.org.uk

References
1. UK national guideline for the management of genital herpes 2007
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Draft UK national guideline for the management of genital herpes 2012
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
3. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
4. Rapid spread of herpes simplex virus-2 in the human genital tract.
Schiff er J, Swan D, Magaret A, et al.
Sex Transm Infect 2011; 87: A8485.
5. BNF Sept 2011
BMJ group and RPS publishing
www.bnf.org
6. Personal communication from Dr Raj Patel, Consultant GU Physician and Senior Lecturer, Southampton University
and co-author of the UK national guidelines for the management of genital herpes (see Ref 1and 2)
7. The Golding prosecution. See www.hva.org.uk/PR_aug11.pdf

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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13. Syphilis

Syphilis is a treatable but complicated infection, best managed by GU medicine.


Refer.

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

Background1
Syphilis is caused by Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum, a spirochete bacterium
It is spread through close contact (almost exclusively sexual)
It may also be spread via in-utero transmission (

congenital syphilis) and infected blood products

The symptoms and signs are complicated and varied and can be easily misdiagnosed as a variety of other

clinical conditions
It is a relatively rare infection, compared to other STIs such as Chlamydia, warts and herpes
However, rates have increased since the late 1990s, especially in certain groups
between 1997 and 2007, annual diagnoses of infectious syphilis increased twelvefold (from 301 to 3789)2
The highest rates are in:
men who have sex with other men (accounting for 73% of infectious syphilis cases)2
the over 25s
certain urban areas (London, Brighton, Manchester)

Note
Not all men who have sex with men will volunteer this to you
Many could be married or in long-term heterosexual relationships
Take a sensitive sexual history
Many patients may be HIV+ as well (and may not even know it)
There is an increasing number of cases in women, especially those from abroad

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

13. Syphilis

What should alert you?


Symptoms / signs (see below) especially in the above groups

What test should you do?


Referral of suspected cases to GUM is strongly recommended.
If you decide to test in GP, then...
Send 10 ml clotted blood to your lab requesting syphilis serology (request syphilis IgM if you suspect

very early infection).


Serology should be repeated a few weeks later if initially negative, yet strong clinical suspicion of syphilis
window period is < 90 days
Some labs can test for Treponema pallidum on swabs from ulcers using NAAT tests. Check if this is the case

with your lab.


Offer testing for HIV (and Chlamydia and gonorrhoea) as well

Note:
Non-venereal treponemal infections (Yaws, Bejel, Pinta) from some tropical countries will induce similar antibody

responses to those of syphilis. They are sometimes discovered incidentally in patients from outside the UK.
Despite being non- sexually transmitted, appropriate management is best undertaken by GUM. Refer.
Sometimes elderly patients will have positive treponemal serology on routine screening (Eg: dementia)

Refer to GUM if there is no record of previous treatment in the notes.


Newer point-of-care rapid tests for syphilis are becoming available. The validity of test results should be fully

understood confirmation with standard serological tests is currently recommended

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Symptoms / Signs1
See figure 1 which demonstrates the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary stages of syphilis
Figure 1: The natural history of syphilitic infection
1 Exposure

9 to 90 days
Chancre

few hours

Red macule

papule

indurated ulcer

Solitary, painless (? unnoticed)

Local lymph nodes

Heals in 3 to 10 weeks

blood spread
Organs

2 4 to 9 weeks after exposure: certain % of Pts will demonstrate Sx


80% skin lesions (skin rash, condylomata lata)
60% general lymphadenopathy
30% mucous membrane lesions
< 10%

hepatitis
arthritis, periostitis
alopecia

glomerulonephritis
meningitis, cranial n. palsies

Lasts several weeks or months

25% can
relapse

(most likely sooner rather than later)

75%
Early
arbitrarily 2 years
(because > 2 years there is much less likelihood
of infectious [mucocutaneous] relapses)

latent
Late
40%

symptoms

60%

no symptoms

3 2 to 20 years
Damage from:
Direct invasion
Inflammatory immune response

CVS / Neuro / Skin and bone complications

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

13. Syphilis

Primary syphilis
Somewhere between 9 and 90 days after exposure, the site of inoculation becomes a painless indurated ulcer

(a chancre). The chancre defines Primary syphilis


Because the ulcer is painless, it may go unnoticed, especially if it cannot be seen easily (anal area, vagina,

cervix, tonsils)
Sometimes the chancres are actually multiple and painful
The chancre heals spontaneously

Secondary syphilis
Soon afterwards the organisms spread systemically and a systemic illness ensues. This is Secondary syphilis.
The commonest manifestation of secondary syphilis is a maculopapular rash which can sometimes affect palms

and soles. It tends not to be itchy


Syphilis was known as the Great Imitator for good reason it can present in a variety of ways, especially

in the secondary stages:


generalised malaise
lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly
oral mucous patches (snail track ulcers)
moist warty lesions (condylomata lata) at sites of skin friction (perianal, vulval, under breasts, axillae)
patchy alopecia
By the time the lesions of secondary syphilis are present, serology will almost certainly be positive.

It may even be positive when you see a chancre (request an IgM on serology if you see a chancre)
The mucous membrane lesions, and condylomata lata, are very infectious; its no wonder syphilis spreads

so easily through close intimate contact and oral sex


Untreated, syphilis lesions resolve spontaneously, although they can recur episodically for up to 2 years.

This is called Early syphilis


After 2 years or so, a period of clinical latency is reached: the organisms remain in the body, but there are no

overt symptoms. This is called Late syphilis


Tertiary syphilis
Years later, late syphilis manifestations may develop in other systems, so-called Tertiary syphilis. Late stage

manifestations are rare because in the course of a lifetime, syphilis may be inadvertently treated by antibiotics
for other incidental infections.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Briefly...
Cardiovascular system
Aortic incompetence with aortic regurgitation
Aortic aneurysms

Nervous system
General paralysis of the insane
Tabes dorsalis

Skin and bones


Gummatous (localised vascular granulation tissue) lesions with nodule formation and destructive ulceration.

Take home message


Syphilis has re-emerged as a clinically relevant (and in some populations common) infection in the UK
Have syphilis on your radar especially in the at-risk groups above
Think about co-infection with HIV
Encourage all women to have ante-natal screening (this varies across regions from 77% to 100%)3 to help

prevent congenital syphilis


Talk to you local GU clinic if concerned about a patient

fast track referral

References
1. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (4th Ed)
Holmes et al
McGraw Hill 2008 ISBN 978-0-07-141748-8
2. Syphilis and LGV resurgent STIs in the UK
Health Protection Agency 2009 Gateway number 09/004
Available at www.hpa.org
3. Health Protection Agency. : National Monitoring of Antenatal Infection Screening
Annual Report on 2005 data. London
Health Protection Agency 2007 Centre for Infections 2007.
Available at www.hpa.org

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

14. Genital warts

Background1,2,3,4,5
Caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) there are > 100 different types of HPV
HPV

attacks basal cells of epithelium


(= wart)

abnormal cell proliferation at skin surface

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

Different HPV types prefer different anatomical sites...

Type of HPV

Skin lesion

1, 2, 4

Solitary plantar warts

2, 4, 26, 27

Common warts on hands

Filiform warts on face

3, 10

Flat warts

6, 11

Genital warts (rarely oral)

6, 11

Laryngeal papilloma

16, 18

CIN

16

Head and neck Ca

Pathogenesis
HPV transmission is from direct skin to skin contact with apparent or sub-clinical lesions and/or contact with

genital secretions

micro-abrasions in the recipients skin allow viral access to the basal cells of the epithelium

Poor initial immune response: HPV can persist as a latent infection, with no visible warts
Subsequently the immune system catches up: local lymphocyte infiltration

lesions may regress spontaneously

(1/3 of all visible warts disappear spontaneously within 6/12)


Immunosuppression may

reactivation of HPV

reappearance of visible warts

Infection results in type-specific protection (but whether there is cross protective immunity is uncertain)
HPV is a multi-focal infection of the anogenital skin. Visible lesions are most common at sites of micro trauma

during sexual intercourse, but they may occur at any site

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Genital warts
Most anogenital warts are benign and caused by HPV types 6 and 11, regardless of morphology and

anatomical location
Some lesions may contain oncogenic HPV types (refer suspicious looking lesions)
Perianal warts are not necessarily associated with anal sex HPV infected genital secretions may have collected

in this area, producing visible warts subsequently


Warts inside the anal canal may be associated with penetrative anal sex and may indicate the need for rectal

swabs for Chlamydia and gonorrhoea as well as tests for HIV, syphilis and Hepatitis B, depending on the history
Molecular and serology studies report prevalence rates of genital HPV of 30 to 50% in sexually active adults
Most genital HPV infections are actually subclinical: < 10% of infected individuals have any visible lesions
Most genital HPV infections are transient: HPV DNA is no longer detectable in 95% people by 2 years post infection
Peak age of prevalence is 20 to 24 years in

and 25 to 34 years in

Risk of HPV acquisition rises with increasing numbers of sexual partners

(HPV is rarely found in the genital tract of virgins)


HPV detection declines with increasing age (

immune response?)

HPV detection increases with pregnancy, immune suppression and smoking


Occasionally, there may be digital

genital and genital

digital transmission

Oro-genital transmission is also possible


The long latent period, just as with herpes, means that the presence of warts in only one partner,

does not necessarily imply recent infidelity


Non sexual transmission? uncertain
fomites can transmit hand warts, but ? genital warts (poor evidence)
no cases of blood-borne transmission
perinatal transmission is recognised
Rx may reduce infectivity (but uncertain if this affects asymptomatic viral shedding)
Clinical manifestations of genital HPV
Genital warts
Warts in the larynx (respiratory papillomatosis)
Pre-malignant and malignant lesions in the ano-genital area and oro-pharynx

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

14. Genital warts

Symptoms
Warty growths in and around genital skin. Little discomfort (sometimes itchy) but often psychological distress++
Bleeding from cervical / urethral / anal lesions
Distorted urinary stream with urethral lesions

Signs
Lesions can be flat or raised, single or multiple, soft or keratotic, small or large cauliflower-like, flesh-coloured

or pigmented
Generally < 10 mm diameter, but may coalesce into large plaques, esp in diabetics / immunosuppressed
Differential diagnosis
Normal anatomy (pearly penile papules, vulval papillae, sebaceous glands)
Skin tags, dermatofibromas, epidermoid cysts, molluscum contagiosum
Condylomata lata (warty lesions in 2 syphilis), intra-epithelia neoplasias, malignant lesions

Diagnosis
Clinical appearance
if in doubt refer to GUM
See Resources section (Appendix 2) for advice on recognition of genital warts
HPV DNA detection methods are available ( useful in cervical cytology) but routine benefit of detecting subclinical

skin infections is uncertain (may

anxiety and HPV is often cleared spontaneously anyway)

Biopsy of atypical lesions

General management issues


See STI Management Standards chapter
Screen for other STIs
Rx is essentially cosmetic. Significant psychological distress sometimes reassure Pts that HPV often

clears spontaneously
Women with external anogenital warts should have a speculum examination to check for vaginal / cervical lesions
Rx options
no Rx is an option (lesions can resolve spontaneously)
destruction (cryoRx)
anti-mitotic agents (Podophyllotoxin)
immune modifiers (Imiquimod cream)
surgery

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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14. Genital warts

Rx options may depend on


your own clinical experience (see Resources section for further information)
morphology, number, distribution of lesions
pregnancy (cannot use topical creams / lotions see below)
patient preferences
costs
Rx options probably reduce, but may not eradicate HPV infectivity
Recording of lesions on genital diagrams at each visit may be useful in providing a visual record of response to Rx
Clearance and recurrence rates vary very difficult to compare different treatments
Generally speaking, warts can recur in a quarter of cases after apparent clearance
Some data suggests that smokers may respond less well to Rx than non-smokers
Not all strains of genital HPV produce cervical cancer there is no benefit from more frequent cervical screening:

start at appropriate screening age and be guided by the cytology report each time, even if visible warts are present
Pts should receive clear written information regarding the cause, Rx, outcomes and possible complications

of genital warts
Reassure Pts that although wart clearance may take 1 to 6 months and recurrences may occur, complete

clearance occurs in most, sooner or later.

Treatments
NB
the evidence base to advise on 1st and 2nd line Rxs is not strong
all Rxs have significant failure and relapse rates
Rx may involve discomfort and side effects give written information to Pt

Generally
Soft, non-keratinized warts respond well to Podophyllotoxin
Keratinized lesions respond better to physical ablative methods (cryotherapy, electro-cautery, excision)
Imiquimod cream may be suitable for both keratinized and non-keratinized lesions
Pts with a small number of small warts, irrespective of type, may be best Rxd with ablative methods from the outset

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

14. Genital warts

Also
Consider developing a Rx algorithm / referral pathway in association with your local GUM clinic
Have a low threshold to refer
Suspicious / uncertain / internal lesions
Recalcitrant lesions (consider HIV test)
Cervical lesions (consider colposcopy referral)
Immunosuppressed Pts
Pregnant women
Children
Elderly patients (? malignancy)

Specific Rx options
CRYOTHERAPY
Liquid nitrogen spray or cryoprobe
Causes cytolysis at dermal / epidermal junction

local necrosis

PODOPHYLLOTOXIN
Cost6 approx 12 to 14
This is an antimitotic agent that comes in cream (0.15%) and solution (0.5%) forms.
Applied BD for 3 days followed by 4 days of no application.
If ineffective after 4 courses of Rx (ie: 1 month) then try a different method (or refer to GU)
Licensed for genital warts but not extra-genital ( ie: anal) warts
Do not use in pregnancy
See BNF / SPC data sheet for more details

IMIQUIMOD 5% CREAM
Cost6 approx 48
This is an immune modulator.
Not suitable for internal genital warts.
It is applied nightly for 3 nights a week (usually Mon / Wed / Fri) and then washed off each morning.
Treat for up to 16 weeks.
Not approved for use in pregnancy
See BNF / SPC data sheet for more details

EXCISION under local anaesthetic


Useful if pedunculated warts, or small warts at anatomically accessible sites

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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14. Genital warts

Management of sexual partners4, 7


Given the fact that infection with HPV is often latent, there are no specific look-back periods
Thus there are no specific partner notification recommendations (no evidence that it reduces transmission)
If the index patient wishes, it may, however, be useful to see current sexual partners to
Examine for any undetected warts
Give further explanation and advice on warts and HPV
Screen for other STIs

References
1. UK national guideline on the management of anogenital warts 2007
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org/guidelines
2. European Course on HPV associated pathology: guidelines for primary care physicians for the diagnosis
and management of anogenital warts
Sex Transm Inf 2000; 76: 162168
von Krogh G, Lacey CJN, Barrasso R, Schneider A
3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (4th Ed)
Holmes et al
McGraw Hill 2008 ISBN 978-0-07-141748-8
4. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
5. STD Treatment Guidelines 2010
USA Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
Available at www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010
6. BNF March 2012
BMJ group and RPS publishing
Available at www.bnf.org
7. The Manual for Sexual Health Advisors (2004)
Society of Sexual Health Advisors
Available at www.ssha.info

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

15. The ABC of Hepatitis

The clinical management of hepatitis is beyond the remit of this booklet. This chapter takes the form of a large table
combining data from lots of different sources (primarily BASHH national guidelines1) to simply compare hepatitis A,
B and C. It may help to answer some questions that patients ask. Dont forget, all acute cases of hepatitis are
notifiable (probably best to inform the pt of this). If in doubt seek advice.

HEP A

HEP B

HEP C

Lab reported cases in


England & Wales 2010

3672

58053

81472

Transmission

Faecal oral
? Sexual

Parenteral
(1:3 risk if eAg+)
Sexual
Vertical
Sporadic

Parenteral
(1:30 risk)
Sexual (low risk)*
Vertical
Sporadic

Incubation period

15 to 45 days

6 wks to 6 months

4 to 20 weeks
for the uncommon cases
of acute infection

Infectious period

From 2 weeks
before
jaundice to 1 week
after jaundice

From 2 weeks
before jaundice
until sAg neg which takes
up to 6/12,unless chronic

From 2/52
before jaundice (if present)

Persistent infection?

No

5 to 10% cases

50 to 85% cases

What if pregnant?

Vertical transmission
extremely rare

Vertical trans:
90% if eAg +
10% if eAg

Vertical trans:
< 5%
(higher if HIV+)

> 9/10 infected infants can


become chronic carriers
hence vaccinate at birth

currently no way of
reducing vertical
transmission

Inc. risk of miscarriage


and prem labour

Inc risk misc and prem


labour in acute infection

Inc risk misc and prem


labour in acute infection

Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding ok

Breastfeeding ok as no
additional risk of
transmission

Breast feeding?
no firm evidence of
additional risk, except,
perhaps, if high viral load

Contacts

MSM sexual contacts


during infectious period.
Household contacts
managed by CCDC

Sexual or needle-sharing
partners during inf period.
Consider post-exposure
vaccine

Sexual or needle-sharing
partners during inf period

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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15. The ABC of Hepatitis

General advice to pt

Follow up

Diagnosis

HEP A

HEP B

HEP C

No food handling
or UPSI during inf period

Avoid sexual
contact until sAg
negative (unless
partner has Ab)

Do not donate
blood / semen / organs
Avoid sharing
toothbrushes and
razors.

18% infection rate for


regular heterosexual
partner of pt
with acute Hep B

Low risk through UPSI

Acute inf?
as for Hep A
but consider referral

Acute inf?
as for Hep A
but consider referral

Chronic inf?
(ie: sAg > 6/12)
refer gastro

Chronic (PCR+ve) inf?


refer gastro

Hep B
core Ab IgM
sAg
eAg
(up to 6/12 window)

Hep C Ab
(usually +ve within 3/12
of exposure, but can
take up to 9/12
If + check viral PCR)

Acute inf?
See at 1 to 2 weekly
intervals until LFTs
normal (usually
1 to 3 months)

Hep A IgM

* Hepatitis C and sexual transmission: higher risk in MSM esp if HIV+ve / anal sex / traumatic sex /
concurrent rectal STIs / recreational drug use

Additional resources
RCGP Certificate in the detection, diagnosis and management of Hepatitis B and C in Primary Care
See: www.rcgp.org.uk

References
1. UK National Guideline on the management of viral hepatitides A, B and C 2008
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Hepatitis laboratory reports, England and Wales
Health Protection Agency
www.hpa.org.uk
3. Acute Hepatitis B (England) annual report for 2010
Health Protection Report Vol 4, No 4 Aug 2011
www.hpa.org.uk

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

16. Pubic lice

Background1,2
Infestation by the crab louse Phthirus pubis: a wingless blood-sucking insect
Spread by close body contact, unlikely to survive > 24 to 48 hours off the host

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

Incubation period from 5 days to 5 weeks (sometimes longer and asymptomatic)


Life cycle lasting 15 to 25 days
Not known to be vectors of human disease (cf: head lice and body lice)

Symptoms / Signs
Adult lice infest strong hairs (pubic hair, body hair, eyebrows and eyelashes)
Eggs (nits) are strongly attached to the hairs
There may be no Sx or the lice may be spotted with alarm!
There may be pruritis due to hypersensitivity
Blue macules (maculae caerulae) may be visible at feeding sites on skin (

salivary enzymes of louse)

Diagnosis
Finding adult lice (typical appearance :smaller and squatter than body lice) and/or nits on body hair

Management
General advice
Avoid close body contact until index pt and partner(s) have completed Rx
Full STI screen should be taken (ie: Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV). Refer if you cant offer this
Clothes and bed linen washed at 50C

Treatment options1,3
Lotions probably more effective than shampoos apply to all body hair (inc facial hair)
2nd application after 7 days is advised to kill lice emerging from surviving eggs
Recommended regimens
MALATHION 0.5% AQUEOUS SOLUTION

Apply to whole body and wash off after at least 2 (preferably 12) hours
PERMETHRIN 5% CREAM RINSE Rx of choice in pregnancy or breastfeeding

Apply to whole body, allow to dry and wash off after 12 hours
Infestation of eyelashes can be Rxd with PERMETHRIN 1% lotion keeping the eyes closed during the 10 min

application. Alternatively, paraffin eye ointment topically bd for 8 to 10 days will suffocate the nits

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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16. Pubic lice

Sexual partners
Current sexual partners should be examined and Rxd
Contact tracing of partners from the previous 3/12 should be undertaken

Follow up
Re-examine for lice after 1 week
Rx failure (live lice)

use an alternative preparation

Dead nits can remain attached to hairs does not imply Rx failure.

Can be removed cosmetically with a nit comb

References
1. UK national guideline on the management of Phthirus pubis infestation 2007
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
3. British National Formulary Sept 2011
BMJ Group and RPS publishing
www.bnf.org

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

17. Genital scabies

Background1,2
Caused by the microscopic parasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei var hominis
mites are blind with no eyes;

is 0.4 x 0.3 mm2,

mites burrow into the skin where they lay eggs

is smaller and dies after mating


offspring crawl out

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

new burrows

lifespan of 4 to 6 weeks, feed on lymph and lysed skin tissue


move rapidly on warm skin: 2.5 cm / min!
Spread by skin to skin contact (mites transferred after about 10 to 20 mins of close contact)
Cant survive off human host > 72 hours
Unlikely to be spread by clothes, towels, bedding etc. (except Norwegian scabies)
Can affect any part of the body not always sexually transmitted
Norwegian scabies
Extensive crusted lesions with breadcrumb-like hyperkeratotic lesions over elbows, palms, knees, soles
Immunocompromised or elderly
Highly contagious

Symptoms
Main one is generalised pruritis, esp at night. Can take 6/52 to develop

hypersensitivity reaction to excreta, absorbed into skin capillaries)

Signs
Erythematous genital papules / nodules
Silvery skin burrows (look at inter-digital folds, wrists and elbows, around breast nipples in )

Diagnosis
typical signs / Sx
scrapings from burrows may be examined under a microscope not practical in General Practice

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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17. Genital scabies

Management
If you see signs of scabies on genitals, it may imply genital genital contact and other STIs may be present,

so consider a full STI screen (ie: Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV)
Advise Pt to avoid close body contact until Pt and recent partner(s) have completed Rx
Rx
PERMETHRIN 5% dermal cream to whole body from neck downwards, wash off 12 hours later

or
MALATHION 0.5% aqueous lotion applied to whole body from neck down and washed off after 24 hours3
Norwegian scabies is Rxd with oral IVERMECTIN (named pt basis)
If hands washed in soap within 8 hours of Rx, they should be re-Rxd with cream
Do not have a hot bath before applying cream (risk of systemic absorption after vasodilatation)
Permethrin is safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding Rx of choice in these situations
Pruritis may persist use Crotamiton 10% cream and/or oral antihistamines
Pruritis persisting for > 2 weeks after Rx may reflect Rx failure , re-infection or drug allergy to anti-scabetics
Wash potentially contaminated clothes / bedding at high (> 50C) temp
Current sexual contacts and household or institutional contacts should also be Rxd at same time
An arbitrary time-span is for contacts from the previous 2 months to be traced

References
1. UK national guideline on the management of scabies infestation 2007
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
3. BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group Correction to the use of Malathion 0.5% aqueous lotion in scabies
Nov 2011
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

18. Genital molluscum contagiosum

Background1,2
Benign viral skin infection

caused by a type of Pox virus

Humans are the only natural host


Direct skin to skin contact (or autoinoculation through excoriation)
Can affect any part of the body.

No cases of maternal fetal transmission


Not a true STI, but because genital lesions imply genital contact, consider screening for other STIs
Anecdotal evidence linking adult FACIAL molluscum lesions with HIV infection. Recommend HIV test

Symptoms / Signs
3 to 12 week incubation period
Discreet smooth pearly lesions with central dimple
Usually < 5 mm diameter (larger if immunodeficiency)
If immunocompetent, then spontaneous regression after several months is the norm

Complications
2 bacterial infection if lesions scratched
Lesions can become large in HIV
1/3 people experience recurrences over next 1 to 2 years

Management
No Rx is an option spontaneous regression is expected if immunocompetent
STIs may co-exist offer screen for other STIs
Facial lesions? May indicate low immunity HIV test recommended
Rx options
Cryotherapy, manual expression of core, piercing +/- phenol, curettage / diathermy,
Podophyllotoxin 0.5% cream or Imiquimod 5% cream can be self applied in men (unlicensed use)
No need for contact tracing unless another STI is found

References
1. UK National guideline on the management of molluscum contagiosum 2007
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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19. Balanitis

Background1
Balanitis = Inflammation of the glans penis (+ foreskin? = balanoposthitis)

Causes
Disparate conditions with similar clinical presentations varying aetiologies
Infections
Candida
Trichomonas vaginalis
Strep
Staph
Anaerobes
Herpes
HIV (oral and genital ulcers in seroconversion illness)
Syphilis
Others

Dermatoses
Lichen sclerosus
Lichen planus
Zoons balanitis
Circinate balanitis
Psoriasis
Eczema
Seborrhoeic dermatitis
Contact allergy
Drug reactions (fixed drug eruption or Stevens-Johnson syndrome)
Immuno-bullous disorders
Others

Miscellaneous
Trauma
Irritation
Poor hygiene
Pre-malignant conditions (carcinoma in situ)
Others

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

19. Balanitis

Management
History
What is noticed?
Time frame (Eg: herpes is acute, dermatoses are more chronic)
Itch? Odour?
Is foreskin tight (think of lichen sclerosus)
Any new potential allergens?
Recent new drug?
Sexual history
Does sexual partner have any Sx (Eg: female with Candida? TV? Herpes?)
Sx elsewhere? (Eg: candidal balanitis

new diabetic?)

Signs
Local: colour, texture, ulcers, discharge, oedema, odour, etc
General: Any enlarged lymph nodes? Rash elsewhere? Any signs in mouth? Arthritis? Eye Sx?

Phimosis? Meatal stenosis? Signs suspicious of malignancy? Etc.


Investigations
Bacterial swab (

m/c/s) often needed. Be guided by report, but

Strep B is usually a commensal and wouldnt necessarily warrant treatment.


Candida may be a super-infection and its presence does not exclude an underlying dermatosis.
Herpes swab if Sx suggestive
Urine dipstick

glycosuria?

Consider STI screen


Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis
Consider referral to GUM if TV is suspected (difficult to diagnose in GP)
Consider urgent ref to GUM if syphilis / HIV suspected

Management
General advice
Avoid soaps while inflammation is present
Saline bathing often helps
If topical creams prescribed, warn that they may weaken condoms
Refer if diagnosis uncertain or not responding to initial Rx

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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19. Balanitis

Specific Rxs
This section is very brief and is included simply to raise awareness. Refer if in doubt esp if suspicious of malignancy
or pre-malignant conditions
Symptoms

Signs

Notes

Treatment

Candida

red rash +/- itch

blotchy erythema

check for glycosuria


sub-prep swab

topical Imidazoles or
stat dose oral
Fluconazole
Consider Rxing female
partner if recurrent

Herpes

painful ulcers

ulcers

take HSV swab


(beware syphilis!)

oral Aciclovir etc


saline wash

Anaerobic
Balanitis

malodour
+/- erythema

+/- erosions

sub-prep swab

oral Metronidazole 7/7

Staph / Strep

non-specific
erythema

+/- erosions

sub-prep swab

depends on report

Circinate
balanitis

well demarcated
red / grey patches

may have dysuria


and discharge
(beware
chlamydia! See
SARA chapter)

conjunctivitis?
arthralgia?
(
chlamydia?)
See SARA chapter
Refer for STI screen

saline wash
(+/- Hydrocortisone
1% cream)

Plasma cell
(Zoons)
balanitis

painless red rash


always in the
uncircumcised
typically older

glossy well
demarcated
orange-red
areas, often with
small pinpoint
spots (cayenne
pepper spots)

refer if in doubt
may need biopsy
(diff diag
= malignancy)

topical steroids
saline washes
? circumcision

Lichen Sclerosus

white patches
phimosis
urethral stenosis
itch

atrophic white
plaques +/haemorrhagic
vesicles

consider referral
small (< 5%) risk
of malignancy

potent steroids
aqueous cream
as soap substitute
at least annual
review in view of
malignancy risk

Carcinoma in situ
Keratinized skin? = Bowens disease of penis: discrete scaly plaque
Glans? = Erythroplasia of Queyrat: red moist patch / plaque
Consider biopsy for any persistent plaque lesion

References
1. 2008 UK national guideline on the management of balanoposthitis
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

biopsy essential
biopsy essential

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

20. Vulval conditions

Background1,2
These non-infective conditions have a variety of causes affecting one particular anatomical site
Often present to GPs can be managed alone according to knowledge, skills, etc, or in conjunction with GUM /
Dermatology / Gynae
Three main groups (conditions discussed here are not exhaustive)
Dermatoses
Pain syndromes
Pre-malignant conditions

General management
Contact tracing not required unless an STI is diagnosed. If so, see STI Management Standards chapter.
For all conditions:
Avoid contact with soap, shampoo, bubble bath etc
Simple emollients can be used as soap substitutes
Avoid tight-fitting garments

irritation?

Avoid spermicidally lubricated condoms

irritation?

1. Vulval dermatoses
a. Vulval lichen sclerosus
Cause
inflammatory condition unknown aetiology (? autoimmune)

Sx
itch, irritation, sore, external dyspareunia, may be asymptomatic

Signs
patches of pallor and atrophy (cigarette paper appearance)
sometimes excoriation, erosions, fissures and blisters
hyperkeratosis
changes can be localized or in figure of 8 distribution, involving perianal area as well as vulva
does not involve vagina (cf: lichen planus)

Complications
loss of architecture with skin fusion
may develop into squamous cell carcinoma (risk thought to be small)

Diagnosis
clinical
biopsy if uncertain or malignant change suspected

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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20. Vulval conditions

Investigations
consider screening for other autoimmune conditions (Eg: thyroid tests)
skin swab if 2 infection suspected
? patch testing if allergy suspected

Rx
Give pt written info seek medical advice if any suspicious changes (?Ca)
V.potent topical steroids (Eg: Clobetasol proprionate).
Various regimens can be used consider once/day for 1/12, then alternate days for 1/12, then twice weekly

for 1/12 with review at 2 to 3 months


Maintenance Rx often needed afterwards can be with weaker steroids or with less frequent use of

v.potent steroids. 30g tube of v.potent steroid should last at least 3 months.
Topical steroids with antibacterial / antifungal components may be useful if 2 infection
Surgery if severe, or complications of fusion / malignant change
Stable disease on follow-up?

annual review, but see sooner if suspicious changes

Active disease assessed as clinically required


Lubrication can help with sex

b. Vulval lichen planus


Cause
Inflammatory skin condition occurring on any area of keratinized skin as well as oral / genital mucosa

unknown aetiology
Sx
itch, irritation, sore, external dyspareunia , may be asymptomatic

Signs
there are overlapping subtypes
look for signs of lichen planus elsewhere on body (mouth, wrists)
may also involve vagina (cf: lichen sclerosus )
Erosive (commonest type in vulva).

Eroded mucosal surfaces Wickhams striae sometimes seen. As erosions heal, synaechiae and
scarring can develop. Presenting Sx is usually pain.
Guttate, annular and plaque (commonest type on keratinized skin).

Polygonal papules
can merge to give plaques or annular lesions. Shinier than surrounding
skin mauve/purple colour. Wickhams striae can be seen on surface.
Hypertrophic.

Raised keratotic lesions commonly seen on legs


Flexural.

Groins and sub-mammary folds can be erosive or non-erosive

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

20. Vulval conditions

Lacey network.

Oral and genital mucosa can be asymptomatic. 1/3 pts with oral lesions also have vulval lesions
Vulval splitting.

Consider LP in cases of recurrent vulval splitting and dyspareunia. Skin may look clinically normal
but LP may be found on biopsy.
Complications
Scarring and vaginal synaechiae
Development of squamous cell carcinoma (3% Pts in one study)

Diagnosis
Clinical. Look for LP elsewhere. May also co-exist with lichen sclerosus.
Histology if uncertain / malignancy suspected

Investigations
consider screening for other autoimmune conditions (Eg: thyroid tests)
skin swab if 2 infection suspected
? patch testing if allergy suspected
Link with Hep C (and sometimes Hep B) in some countries, but no evidence of

incidence in UK so routine

screening not thought necessary


Rx
Give pt written info (see resources below) seek medical advice if any suspicious changes (? Ca)
Referral recommended for erosive or recalcitrant disease
V.potent topical steroids (Eg: Clobetasol proprionate) erosive disease is often treatment resistant
Various regimens can be used consider once/day for 1/12, then alternate days for 1/12, then twice weekly

for 1/12 with review at 2 to 3 months


Maintenance Rx often needed afterwards can be with weaker steroids or with less frequent use of v.potent

steroids. 30g tube of v.potent steroid should last at least 3 months.


Topical steroids with antibacterial / antifungal components may be useful if 2 infection
Surgery if severe, or complications of fusion / malignant change
Stable disease on follow-up?

annual review, but see sooner if suspicious changes

Active disease assessed as clinically required


Lubrication can help with sex

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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20. Vulval conditions

c. Vulval dermatitis
Cause
Irritant , allergy, atopic, seborrhoeic
2 to Iron deficiency, 2 to candidal infection

Sx
Itch, soreness

Signs
Erythema, lichenification, excoriation, fissures

Complications
2 infection

Diagnosis
Clinical
Skin disease elsewhere
History of atopy

Investigations
skin swab

m/c/s. Rx depends on report

Serum Ferritin
Consider referral for patch tests, biopsy etc

Rx
Topical steroids potency depends on severity of disease. Combination preparations if 2 infection

2. Vulval pain syndromes: Vulvodynia1,2,3,4


Definition

Vulval discomfort most often described as burning pain, occurring in the absence of relevant visible findings
or a specific clinically identifiable neurological disorder
International Society for the Study of Vulval Diseases 2007
Can be classified according to

When it happens
Provoked

(occurs on touch)

Unprovoked (can occur at any time)


Mixed

Where it is
Localised

(specific area)

Generalised (more widespread over vulval area)

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

20. Vulval conditions

Clinical diagnosis often no identifiable pathology (thus Rx can be difficult)


The suffix -itis is best avoided as it implies an inflammatory component which is unproven
Can affect any age, any race, any social group

General principles take a structured approach3


Believe in her Sx!
Its hard to get better when you have to prove to someone youre ill
Exclude other causes of Sx
Consider STI tests and skin swabs
Take full pain Hx
assess degree of Sx and impact on the Pt
analogue scales and pain diaries may be helpful
try and classify Pt into provoked / unprovoked and localised / generalised (may be difficult as these can overlap)
If appropriate, sexual Hx should be taken any sexual dysfunction?
Diagnosis is mostly clinical biopsies generally not needed
Combining Rxs is often useful. Topical anaesthetics can be used in all Pts.
Give Pts written info (esp with prescription medicines and when regimens may be complicated)
Surgery should be offered only after other options tried
Look for and address any pelvic floor dysfunction. Biofeedback is helpful
Multidisciplinary approach most useful physio, psychology, pain management teams, etc

a. Provoked vulvodynia
Cause
Unknown. Sometimes a trigger factor (Candida, childbirth, stressful life event)

Sx
Vulval pain mainly at introitus at penetration during SI or with tampon insertion or speculum exam
Usually long-standing (often tolerated for a long time before seeking help)

Signs
No signs of acute inflammation. May be erythema over Skenes and Bartholins ducts
Focal tenderness (lightly touch various areas with cotton bud or swab, to map out area of Sx)
Check if pain is provoked by sitting (and relieved by standing or lying) may be pudendal neuralgia

refer to pain team.


Check for Sx / signs of herpes, Candida, TV, vulval dermatoses

Complications
Vaginismus, depression, relationship problems

Diagnosis
Clinical (but exclude other causes)

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20. Vulval conditions

Investigations
Examine the area Pt needs reassurance. Any signs of infection? Dermatoses?
Consider screen for STIs (including TV this may be difficult in GP, so refer)
If unable to tolerate speculum, allow self-taken swabs
Skin swabs (m/c/s and herpes)
? biopsy ( to exclude other dermatoses if clinically suspicious)

Rx
Psychosocial management as well as physical. What does the pain stop her from doing?
Observation may be an option (although many Pts have suffered with Sx for a long time before seeking help)
remission can occur in up to 50% spontaneously within a year of diagnosis
if triggered by infection, prognosis is better
Emollient soothing agents (some may irritate, so experiment with different brands)
Topical local anaesthetics
Eg: Lidocaine 5% ointment) prn prior to ppting factors.
May weaken condoms, though.
Behavioural therapy, biofeedback
Pain modifiers
More useful for unprovoked pain. Evidence for provoked pain less clear.
Consider Amitriptyline or Nortriptyline in low doses titrated upwards according to response and s/es.
Gabapentin, Pregabalin and Carbamazepine have also been used.
Topical steroids?
alone or combination with antifungals/antibacterials
but may cause irritation
Psychosexual referral

b. Unprovoked vulvodynia
Cause
unknown ? trigger factor as above

Sx
burning pain much of the time
may be worsened by prolonged sitting, tight clothes, cycling, penetration

Signs
commoner in post-menopausal
vulva appears healthy or there may be varying degrees of erythema

Complications
as for provoked vulvodynia

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

20. Vulval conditions

Diagnosis
as for provoked vulvodynia

Investigations
as for provoked vulvodynia

Rx
as for provoked vulvodynia
pain modifiers (esp Tricyclic antidepressants) more useful and are an appropriate initial Rx 3

Patient information
www.vulvalpainsociety.org

3. Pre-malignant conditions
Any persistent plaque lesion should be biopsied to exclude precancerous / cancerous change
a. Vulval intra-epithelial neoplasia
Cause
histological diagnosis
different aetiologies. Commonest is Human Papilloma Virus (esp type 16)
also associated with lichen sclerosus, immunosuppression and smoking

Sx
itch, pain, burning
atypical warty lesions
may be asymptomatic

Signs
can be variable : raised white, erythematous or pigmented lesions
can be multifocal

Complications
development of squamous cell carcinoma
association with CIN

Diagnosis
biopsy

Investigations
biopsy

Rx
refer suspicious lesions to GUM / Gynae / Dermatology according to local policies

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20. Vulval conditions

b. Vulval Pagets disease


Cause
unknown

Sx
localised itch

Signs
red, crusting lesions. May look like eczema

Complications
development of adenocarcinoma

Diagnosis
biopsy

Investigations
biopsy
associated with adenocarcinomas elsewhere investigate as necessary

Rx
refer

References
1. 2007 UK national guideline on the management of vulval conditions
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
3. Mandal D, Nunns D, Byrne M et al.
Guidelines for the management of vulvodynia 2010
Br J Dermatol 2010; 162:11805.
4. How to put out the fire of vulvodynia
Weaver,K
Primary care womens health journal p165-167 Vol 3 No 4 Oct-Dec 2011
Published by Sherborne Gibbs Limited

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

21. Prostatitis

Background1,2
Classification
I. acute bacterial prostatitis (rare)
II. chronic bacterial prostatitis (< 5% cases)
III. chronic prostatitis / chronic pelvic pain syndrome (> 90% cases)
a. inflammatory
b. non-inflammatory (previously called prostatodynia)
IV. asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis (histological diagnosis will not be considered here further)

I. Acute bacterial prostatitis


Rare, but should be easy to spot and Rx effectively
Caused by urinary tract pathogens 2 to UTI or catheterisation
Infection can spread from urethra, bladder, blood, lymph
Rarely 2 to STIs
? Chlamydia (role not clear)2
V. rarely gonorrhoea3 or Trichomonas4

Symptoms (! An acute severe systemic illness treat promptly)


Sx of UTI

(dysuria, frequency, urgency)

Sx of prostatitis

(perineal / penile / rectal pain, acute retention, lower back pain)

Sx of bacteraemia

(fever, rigors, arthralgia, myalgia)

Signs
Prostate signs: tender, swollen, warm prostate (

on gentle PR. Do not do prostatic massage, it may ppt

a bacteraemia)
Bacteraemia signs: fever, tachycardia, etc

Complications
Acute retention, prostatic abscess, bacteraemia, epididymitis, pyelonephritis

Diagnosis
Urine dipstick and MSU
Blood cultures
Consider STI screen (1st pass urine for gonorrhoea / Chlamydia NAAT)
Do not do prostatic massage
painful
can precipitate bacteraemia
little yield as pathogens invariably isolated from urine

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21. Prostatitis

Management
Admit to urology if severe Sx / retention
Otherwise, start empirical Rx immediately after blood and urine cultures:
CIPROFOXACIN 500 mg po bd 28 days switched according to sensitivities.

or
OFLOXACIN 200 mg po bd 28/7

or if quinolones contraindicated
TRIMETHOPRIM 200 mg po bd 28 days
Rest, adequate hydration, appropriate analgesia (caution with NSAIDs and Quinolones interaction)
Review 48 hours: if not improving (beware urinary retention due to prostatic oedema) admit under Urologists
At least 4/52 of Rx needed to prevent chronic bacterial prostatitis
If Pt fails to respond fully to Rx, consider possibility of prostatic abscess (

refer)

If managed correctly though, prognosis is good


When better, refer for investigation of urinary tract for structural abnormalities
No need to trace sexual partners if STIs not found
Gonorrhoea cases should be referred to GUM

II. Chronic bacterial prostatitis


Chronic bacterial infection of prostate
+/- Sx of prostatitis
Hx of recent UTI caused by same bacterial strain
No structural abnormalities

Sx
Recurrent or relapsing Sx of UTI / urethritis / epididymitis

Signs
No fever, no systemic signs
May have diffusely tender prostate during acute episodes, otherwise may be normal

Diagnosis
Hx of recurrent / relapsing Sx (UTIs with same bacterial strain) and no structural reason found on urinary tract imaging

Investigations
Urine dipsticks (evidence of UTI? Any haematuria?)
MSUs can be normal unless acute UTI is present. Look back in the notes review old MSU reports
Consider referral to urology

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

21. Prostatitis

Treatment
Be guided by bacterial cultures and sensitivities
Consider
CIPROFLOXACIN 500 mg po bd 28/7

or
LEVOFLOXACIN 500 mg po od 28/7

or
OFLOXACIN 200 mg po bd 28/7

or
NORFLOXACIN 400 mg po bd 28/7

or if quinolones contraindicated
DOXYCYCLINE 100 mg po bd 28/7 (care: many UTIs may be resistant)

or
TRIMETHOPRIM 200 mg po bd 28/7

Follow-up
Risk of relapse after Rx so check MSU after finishing Rx
If another UTI after 28/7 of Rx, investigate further. Urology opinion probably needed by now.

Prolonged courses (> 3/12) of antibiotics may be considered.

III. Chronic prostatitis / chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS)


Sx of discomfort / pain in the genital / pelvic region for > 3/12 within the past 6/12
Common 2 to 14% lifetime prevalence?

Cause
Unknown may be multifactorial
Proposed mechanisms
Infection (no evidence it is caused by an STI) may trigger Sx
Immunological
Neuromuscular spasm / pelvic floor dysfunction
Intra-prostatic urinary reflux
Voiding dysfunction

? intra-prostatic pressure

Chronic pain syndrome

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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21. Prostatitis

Sx
Perineal pain
Lower abdo pain
Penile pain, testicular pain, rectal / lower back pain
Ejaculatory pain
Variable irritative / obstructive Sx and /or ejaculatory disturbance

Sx usually remain constant (strictly speaking, present for > 3/12) although some men have fluctuating Sx
and in practice the diagnosis is often suspected after a shorter duration of Sx
Validated Sx questionnaires are available5 not to diagnose CPPS but to assess Sx and their impact
and follow-up after Rx
Exclusion criteria for the diagnosis
Active urethritis
Urogenital cancer
Urinary tract disease
Functionally significant urethral stricture
Neurological disease affecting the bladder

Signs
Few objective clinical signs
Prostate may or may not be diffusely or locally tender

Complications
Significant physical and psychological impact

Diagnosis
No gold standard a diagnosis of exclusion
Diagnosis usually made on typical Hx and not on examination or investigative findings
Exclude other causes
Full Hx
Examination including PR
Urine dipstick and MSU
Consider STI screen (to exclude)
Consider

Urine cytology (if non-visible haematuria with frequency / urgency / dysuria)


PSA (if abnormal prostate)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

21. Prostatitis

Management
Reassure its common and Sx can be temporary (most men notice improvement within 6/12)
Reassure not malignancy
Reassure not a persisting STI
No reliably effective Rxs few randomised controlled trials.
? antibiotics
? alpha blockers
Given such complexities, it may be more pragmatic for GPs to refer Pts to urology.

Patient information may be obtained from www.patient.co.uk/health/Prostatitis-Chronic.htm

References
1. UK National guideline for the management of prostatitis 2008
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
3. UK National guideline for the management of gonorrhoea in adults 2011
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
4. UK National guideline on the management of Trichomonas vaginalis 2007
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
5. Turner JA, Ciol MA, Korff MV, Berger R.
Validity and responsiveness of National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index.
J Urol 2003;169(2):580-583

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22. Proctitis / colitis / enteric infections

Background1,2
Related to anorectal intercourse and oro-anal contact (analingus)
Most cases in MSM unusual in
Put STIs on your radar of differential diagnoses

Causes
Those that are not usually STI related
although bear in mind that analingus may

risk

sensitive Hx taking

consider HIV test if the following are found3

Bacteria (Salmonella, Shigella, Camplyobacter)


Viruses (CMV only in severely immunocompromised Pts)
Protozoa (Cryptosporidium sp Sx more common in HIV, Giardia, Entamoeba)
Nematodes (threadworms, Strongyloides)
STI related (tend to cause proctitis rather than enteritis)
Once again, sensitive Hx taking++. You may not be aware that the Pt may be MSM
Strongly consider HIV test if the following are found3

Gonorrhoea
Chlamydia
Lymphogranuloma venereum
Syphilis
Herpes simplex
Tropical STIs
Generally
Non STI related causes tend to produce enteritis rather than proctitis
STI related causes tend to produce proctitis rather than enteritis

Symptoms
Proctitis (rectal inflammation)
Acute

mucopurulent anal discharge, anorectal bleeding, tenesmus, constipation

Subacute / chronic

mucus in stools, constipation, tenesmus

Acute proctocolitis (rectal and colonic inflammation)


Small-volume diarrhoea, lower abdo pain and tenderness, PR bleeding

Enteritis (inflammation of small intestine)


Large-volume watery diarrhoea, mid abdominal camps, malaise, weight loss, nausea +/- vomiting

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

22. Proctitis / colitis / enteric infections

Management
Hx... Examination... Investigations...
Have a low threshold to d/w or refer to GUM
Stools

ova / cysts / parasites

Manage as appropriate
If STI is suspected, test ! Consider...
Chlamydia NAAT (rectal swab)
Gonorrhoea NAAT +/- culture (rectal swab)
HSV swab (anorectal swab)
Bloods for HIV, syphilis, HepC? (

risk if rough anal sex)

Rx as appropriate.

Lymphogranuloma venereum2
Systemic disease caused by invasive sub-types of Chlamydia trachomatis
Endemic in tropical countries, rare in industrialised settings until recently
Recent epidemic amongst MSM in several European cities
Sexual networks involving gay sex-party scene
Many Pts are HIV+ve and Hep C +ve as well
International surveillance alert launched in Oct 2004
UK surveillance by HPA has shown that so far5...

Over 1900 cases in UK to Dec 2011


Rapid increase recently (> 1/3 cases diagnosed since 2010)
Mostly white MSM, unprotected anal sex, anonymous sex (partner notification has been difficult)

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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22. Proctitis / colitis / enteric infections

Clinical features
1 lesion
3 to 30 day incubation period. Transient painless papule / pustule / erosion
2 lesions
Inflammation and swelling of lymph nodes and surrounding tissue
Systemic spread

fever, arthritis, pneumonitis

Most Pts recover without sequelae. Otherwise

3 stage

3 stage
Chronic inflammation, local tissue destruction
UK LGV
MSM

many are HIV +ve and Hep C +ve as well


Main Sx was proctitis

genital ulcers and inguinal Sx have been rare


Sx can mimic Crohns disease
Diagnosis: have a high index of suspicion

case reports of Pts being mismanaged with systemic steroids4


consider LGV in males with rectal symptoms
take a rectal swab for Chlamydia or
suggest prompt referral to GUM if you suspect rectal LGV

References
1. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
2. UK National guideline for the management of Lymphogranuloma venereum 2006
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
3. UK national guidelines for HIV testing 2008
British HIV Association / British Association for Sexual Health & HIV / British Infection Society
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines and www.bhiva.org.uk
4. Lymphogranuloma venereum and HIV infection: misdiagnosed as Crohn's disease
BMJ Case Reports 2010; doi:10.1136/bcr.02.2010.2771
5. Health Protection Agency
http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/LGV/

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

23. Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis (SARA)

Background1, 2
Reactive Arthritis
Sterile inflammation of synovial membranes / tendons / fascia

? immune response to antigens

Can be triggered by an infection at a distant site


Gastrointestinal agent (eg: dysentery)

Associated agents include Salmonella, Yersinia, Shigella and Campylobacter species


Approximately 2 to 3% of cases result in reactive arthritis
Sexually transmitted agent (= sexually acquired reactive arthritis SARA )

Most lower genital tract STIs can be associated, particularly Chlamydia trachomatis
Objective features of SARA are present in 0.8 to 4% of cases
Whether upper genital tract infections (prostatitis, salpingitis) are associated is uncertain
Associated with HIV in certain populations from sub-Saharan Africa
Some evidence of persisting organisms intra-articularly in an aberrant form
Reactive arthritis can also be associated with other symptoms
Oral / genital ulceration
Uveitis or iritis
Skin lesions (keratoderma blenorrhagica)
Rarely cardiac, neurological, renal involvement
Reiters Syndrome (a specific triad of symptoms, described by Reiter 2 to dysentery in 1916)
Conjunctivitis, urethritis, arthritis (cant see, cant pee, cant bend the knee)
Reiters syndrome may be incomplete, with variable features

Which organisms are associated with SARA?


Chlamydia (up to 70% cases of SARA)
Gonorrhoea (up to 16%) distinct from role in septic gonococcal arthritis
? others evidence lacking

Which patients?
Men 10x > women (although under-recognition in women may be a problem)
HLA B27 gene? (50 x increased susceptibility)

Clinical features
History
Ask about past or family Hx of spondyloarthritis or iritis
Sexual contact, usually with a new partner, within 3/12 prior to the onset of the arthritis
Gut infection? (look for GI trigger as well as STI trigger)

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23. Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis (SARA)

Symptoms
Pain (+/- swelling and stiffness) at one or more (usually < 6) joints, especially knees, ankles, feet
Pain and stiffness at entheses in 1/5 patients (especially posterior and plantar aspects of heels)
Low back pain and stiffness (10% get sacro-iliitis during acute episode)
Onset of arthritis within 30 days of sex in most patients
Recent Hx of urethral discharge and dysuria (mean interval of 14 days between onset of genital Sx and arthritis)
Systemic Sx of malaise, fever, fatigue in about 10% of patients
Irritable eyes +/- redness / photophobia / drop in visual acuity
up to 50% get conjunctivitis
up to 10% get iritis

Signs
Genital infection (urethritis, cervicitis, epididymitis, etc)
Arthritis (1 to 5 joints, usually asymmetrical distribution, upper limb involvement is rare if no psoriasis)
Enthesopathy (+/- swelling) especially at tendon attachments to calcaneum
Tenosynovitis (especially in fingers)
Pain on direct sacral pressure (but beware pre-existing back pain)
Pain and redness of eye (this is usually conjunctivitis, but rarely iritis refer for slit lamp examination to differentiate)
Psoriasiform skin lesions
typical plaque or guttate skin lesions
pustular psoriasis on soles (keratoderma blennorrhagica)
nail dystrophy
Mucous membrane lesions (geographical tongue, circinate balanitis)
Heart lesions (usually asymptomatic) and rarely pericarditis
Renal pathology (proteinuria, microscopic haematuria, sterile pyuria) hence check urine dipstick

Complications
SARA is usually self limiting (1st episode mean duration: 4 to 6 months)
50% will get recurrent episodes at variable intervals
17% get chronic symptoms
May get erosive damage to joints

locomotor disability

Complications are usually due to aggressive arthritis and are more likely if HLA B27+ve
Acute anterior uveitis can

cataracts and blindness


** (rare but important to detect early get an eye opinion if worried) **

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

23. Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis (SARA)

Diagnosis
Clinical no simple diagnostic test
Be aware!
STI ?

ask about SARA symptoms

SARA symptoms?

consider STI aetiology

Management
Low threshold to d/w rheumatology / ophthalmology / dermatology / GUM
The following should be checked...
FBC (helps to exclude septic arthritis, sickle cell, bleeding diatheses)
ESR or CRP or plasma viscosity
Urinalysis (renal pathology, nephritis?)
Stool culture?
Full STI screen even if no symptoms (asymptomatic Chlamydia?)

rectal STIs in men and women may be present; test if indicated by sexual history
standard course antibiotic Rx for any STI identified role of longer courses or combination antibiotic
therapy remains unclear
standard STI management issues (partner notification etc) if STI identified
Ideally, all patients should go for ophthalmic assessment but pragmatically this might not be feasible so...
consider referral for slit lamp assessment even if symptom-free. I suggest you d/w local specialists re referral pathways.
do refer all those with eye symptoms
Consider
X-rays of affected joints?
LFTs, U&Es
Testing for HLA B27?
ECG? Echocardiogram?
Exclusion tests for other diseases with rheumatological features (RA, SLE, gout, sarcoidosis, etc)

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23. Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis (SARA)

Treatment
In general
symptoms are self-limiting in most cases rest, NSAIDs
STI?
Rx any STI found using standard course Rx
Follow standard procedures for STI management see STI Management Standards chapter
Arthritis
Rest and restriction of weight bearing activity balanced with the use of physiotherapy to prevent muscle wasting
Regular NSAIDs no specific drug of choice, but consider COX-2 selective drugs, or add gastro-protective

agents, for those at risk of GI complications. Beware CVS risks, so use for shortest time period or avoid / modify
in at-risk patients
Consider intra-articular steroid injections if appropriate
More severe / prolonged symptoms probably require the input of a rheumatologist
Enthesitis
Rest, physiotherapy, NSAIDs, local corticosteroid injections
Mucous membrane and skin lesions
Mild?

self limiting no Rx

Mild / Moderate cases?


Genital lesions

consider low potency topical corticosteroids or Vitamin D3 analogues

consider low potency topical corticosteroids

Eye symptoms / signs


Refer to ophthalmologist
Post-inflammatory pain / fatigue
Explanation, reassurance, patience
Consider low-dose tricyclic antidepressants nocte

Prophylaxis
Avoid future trigger infections

safer sex, food hygiene, etc

References
1. UK national guideline on the management of sexually acquired reactive arthritis 2008
Clinical Effectiveness Group, British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH)
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

24. Sexual assault

Background1, 2, 3, 4
Sexual Offences
Definition: crimes covered by the Sexual Offences Act 2003
The Act gives a comprehensive list of sex offences to protect individuals from abuse and exploitation,

and is designed to be fair and non-discriminatory


Two parts to the Act, covering...
Sexual offences
Sexual offenders (with emphasis on protection of vulnerable individuals)
Rape
intentional penetration of another person, without their consent, using a penis
includes penetration of the mouth as well as penetration of the vagina or anus
can only be committed using the penis not committed with an object
thus, women cannot be charged with rape (but may be charged with sexual assault by penetration)
can apply irrespective of the relationship involved (Eg: a man can be convicted of raping his wife)
Consent
defined by law as: a person consents if he or she agrees by choice to the sexual activity and has the freedom

and capacity to make that choice


Some other aspects covered by the 2003 Act include:
Child sex abuse

any sexual intercourse with a child under 13 is treated as rape


Sexual offences involving the internet and grooming
Indecent assaults and sexual assaults
Trafficking people for the purposes of sexual exploitation

Epidemiology5
21% of girls and 11% of boys report some form of child sexual abuse
23% women and 3% men experienced sexual assault as an adult
5% women and 0.4% men experience rape

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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24. Sexual assault

Management of sexual assault in General Practice


This guidance should be interpreted with a degree of flexibility depending on your assessment of the physical and

emotional state of the patient. A pragmatic and compassionate approach is needed: the patient may be trying to
regain control after a situation in which control has been lost.
The benefit to the patient of any investigation / Rx etc, must be weighed against worsening the patients distress.
Your notes may be requested for disclosure to the police and the legal profession, so keep careful notes and

record information verbatim, but keep the history simple: Who, what, when, how... etc. Discrepancies in the
history may cause difficulties with future legal proceedings.
Pt needs can be divided into...

1. Immediate needs

(disclosure within 7 days of the assault)

2. Medium term needs (disclosure after 7 days of the assault)


3. Long term needs

(disclosure after 1 year of the assault)

1. Immediate needs (< 7 days)


Management of any immediate injuries may need referral to A&E. Then ask...
Does Pt wish to have forensic medical examination to gather evidence?
Yes?

Do not examine or take swabs unless urgently needed (Eg: vulval bleeding), as this may interfere
with forensic evidence. Refer asap to local Police or Sexual Assault Referral Centre
Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs)

These centers take forensic swabs and offer immediate medical aftercare and counseling post sexual assault
DNA evidence may still be detected in the vagina up to 7 days after vaginal penetration, 3 days after anal

penetration and 2 days after oral penile penetration.6 Blood can be taken for up to 2 days post incident
and urine up to 14 days in some cases where drug facilitated sexual assault is suspected.6
Pts may self refer to SARCs (telephone first)
Police do not always have to be involved. Evidence can be stored for later use.
Immediate medical aftercare can be initiated if necessary (Eg: emergency contraception, Hep B vaccines,

etc). Some SARCs offer STI management. Tetanus prophylaxis can be considered in cases of wounding.
Services vary around the country, so check with your local SARC first
An up-to-date list of SARCs in the UK can be found at

www.thesurvivorstrust.org/info/isva-services-and-sarcs.aspx#sarcs

Name of local SARC

Tel No.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

24. Sexual assault

No?

Consider the following in General Practice

Management of any injuries


Prophylaxis against
Hep B

vaccines may be started up to 6 weeks after the risk


HIV?

post exposure prophylaxis can be given, if appropriate, < 72 hours after risk
consider this if assailant(s) from high-risk group / bleeding / trauma / etc
commenced by GUM / SARC / A&E depending on local protocols. Refer promptly
Emergency contraception
If an IUD is to be fitted, consider prophylactic antibiotics
STI screen
NB: Consider Chain of Evidence* but you may well have to be pragmatic
Some advocate taking a screen at baseline, then repeating after incubation periods
Others advise waiting until the appropriate incubation period

Bacterial STI window period: 2 weeks


HIV / syphilis window period: 3 months
Some advocate prophylactic antibiotics there are pros and cons to this
Refer to GUM (or pt to self refer) for next available appt (most clinics will see assault victims asap).

*Chain of Evidence: the chronological documentation or paper trail, showing the movement and location
of physical evidence from the time it is obtained until the time it is presented in court.
Asses psychological and social wellbeing
risk of self harm / suicide?
personal safety issues: safe at home? Is emergency accommodation required?
follow-up plans?

2. Medium term needs (> 7 days)


See above, plus...
Pregnancy test needed?
Hep B vaccines follow-up
Screening for STIs according to incubation periods
Psychosocial support. Any signs of post traumatic stress disorder?

3. Long term needs (> 1 year)


Main issues may be psychological any post traumatic stress disorder?
Is an STI screen needed (if only to reassure)?
Psychosocial support

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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24. Sexual assault

Compensation issues
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is a government body responsible for administering the UK Criminal
Injuries Compensation Scheme. It provides a free service to victims of violent crime who may be interested in
applying for financial compensation. See www.cica.gov.uk

Useful sources of support


(Others may be available and none are specifically recommended or endorsed)
National Domestic Violence Helpline
Free 24-hour helpline offering support and advice to women experiencing domestic violence,
including referrals to refuges and outreach services. This service is available nationally
0808 200 246
www.womensaid.org.uk/www.refuge.org.uk
Rape Crisis
A national umbrella organisation for Rape Crisis Centers across the country.
Provides help and advice for the general public and healthcare professionals
0808 802 9999
www.rapecrisis.org.uk
Survivors UK
National helpline for men who have experienced sexual violence and childhood sexual violence
0845 122 1201
www.survivors.org
Samaritans
Provides confidential emotional support 24/7 to those experiencing despair, distress or suicidal feelings
0845 790 9090
www.samaritans.org
Victim Support
A national charity giving free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family,
friends and anyone else affected across England and Wales.
0845 30 30 900
www.victimsupport.org
The Survivors Trust
National umbrella agency for over 120 specialist voluntary sector agencies providing a range of counseling,
therapeutic and support services working with women, men and children who are victims/survivors of rape,
sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse.
01788 550554
www.thesurvivorstrust.org

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

24. Sexual assault

References
1. UK national guidelines on the management of adult and adolescent complainants of sexual assault 2011
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
3. Sexual Offences Act 2003
Available at www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/contents (accessed 31.5.12)
4. Sexual Offences Factsheet
Crown Prosecution Service
Available at www.cps.gov.uk/news/fact_sheets/sexual_offences/ (accessed 31.5.12)
5. Cross Government Action Plan on Sexual Violence and Abuse
HM Government April 2007
Available at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/ Sexual-violence-action-plan
6. Dr Beata Cybulska, Clinical Director of the The Bridge SARC at Bristol University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
and lead author of the BASHH 2011 UK national guidelines on the management of adult and adolescent
complainants of sexual assault. Personal communication

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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25. Ophthalmia neonatorum

Background1,2
Definition: Conjunctivitis in neonate < 21 days old
Causes:
during birth (Chlamydia, GC, rarely HSV)
after birth

exposure to maternal infection in birth canal

(Staph aureus, strep pneumoniae, etc )

Management
Swabs for bacterial culture and Chlamydia
the CMOs Expert Advisory Group on Chlamydia3 recommends all infants with ophthalmia neonatorum

or neonatal pneumonia are screened for Chlamydia


Topical Rxs alone are inadequate for gonococcal / Chlamydial eye infections and are unnecessary when systemic

Rx is given
Dont forget the parents too, if the baby is Chlamydia / gonorrhoea +ve
Dont assume the mother had the same sexual partner throughout the pregnancy
Have a low threshold to refer, especially if
Acute onset
Severe Sx
Both eyes affected
Baby is unwell
No longer a notifiable disease as of April 2010 (see List of Notifiable Diseases at www.hpa.org.uk)

Clinical findings
Chlamydia
Sticky eye (can be unilateral). There may also be signs of otitis, rhinitis and pneumonitis
Occurs in 30 to 50% exposed babies (

if mother is Rxd before delivery)

Incubation period of 5 to 14 days from delivery or PROM, but can be up to 2 months


Corneal scarring is rare (cf: gonococcal conjunctivitis)
Risk of simultaneous infection at other sites ( Eg: pneumonitis see below) so systemic Rx required
Pneumonitis usually presents later than conjunctivitis (4 to 12 weeks)
Management
Complications possible

low threshold for referral to Paeds

Rx: Oral ERYTHROMYCIN 50 mg / kg daily in 4 doses for 14/7 (see BNF)


Re-check eye swab 3/52 after Rx finishes as Rx isnt always 100% effective
Contact trace (sensitive d/w parents) refer GUM

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

25. Ophthalmia neonatorum

Gonorrhoea
Acutely purulent discharge 2 to 5 days after birth +/- chemosis and lid oedema
Occurs in 30 to 40% of exposed babies (

risk if PROM or preterm delivery)

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

Danger! Untreated, may cause corneal scarring / ulcers / blindness +/- systemic complications
Management
Urgent referral to Ophthalmology parenteral Rx needed.
All infants with gonococcal disease should be tested / treated for Chlamydia infection too
Contact trace (sensitive d/w parents) refer GUM

Neonatal Chlamydia infection


Have a low threshold to discuss all cases / refer to Paeds. Complications can arise
Conjunctivitis
Commonest site of infection see above.
Always consider Chlamydia in any baby under 3 weeks old with conjunctivitis
Swab

NAAT test (d/w lab)

Other sites often affected too, hence need systemic Rx ( see below)
Respiratory tract infection
Up to 80% of infected infants will develop nasopharyngeal infection often asymptomatic
1/3 of those with nasopharyngeal infection develop pneumonitis

usually presents between 4 and 12 weeks of age


no cases reported in babies over 4 months old
tachypnoea with repetitive staccato cough
often afebrile and wheezing is rare
CXR shows hyperinflation with bilateral diffuse infiltrates
If you suspect it, consider Chlamydia swab from nasopharynx: d/w Paeds / GUM.
If +ve consider Paeds follow-up risk of fibrosis later in childhood
Otitis media
May complicate nasopharyngeal infection
May become chronic if not Rxd quickly
Vaginal and rectal infections
Up to 15% exposed infants
Usually asymptomatic

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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25. Ophthalmia neonatorum

Management
Low threshold to refer to Paeds
Rx: Erythromycin base or ethylsuccinate 50 mg / kg / day divided into 4 doses daily for 14 days
Effectiveness is only 80%, so another Rx course may be needed if Sx havent resolved4
ToC recommended after Rx

Neonatal gonococcal infections


Conjunctivitis
See above

Arthritis
Usually polyarticular presents as pseudo paralysis

Other sites
Scalp abscess, rhinitis, anogenital infection, neonatal sepsis, rarely meningitis

Infants born to Chlamydia or gonorrhoea +ve mothers


Risk of baby becoming infected from birth canal refer to Paeds / GUM for management

References
1. Complications of infections in pregnancy and infants
(Chapter 6) in Sexual Health in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Wilson and Everett (Editor: Walker)
Remedica publishing 2003 ISBN 1-901346-04-8
2. Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and Sexual Health (2nd Ed)
Pattman et al
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6
3. Chlamydia trachomatis. Summary and conclusions of the CMOs Expert Advisory Group
Metters J.S. editor
Department of Health, London: 1998
4. Chlamydia infections among infants
STD Treatment guidelines 2010, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA
Available at www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010
5. BNF for Children 2011-2012
London: BMJ Group, Pharmaceutical Press, and RCPCH Publications 2011
Available at http://bnfc.org

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

26. Haematospermia

Background1
Definition the presence of blood in the ejaculate. It is usually painless, isolated, benign and self-limiting
Causes
Inflammation (prostate, seminal vesicles, urethra, epididymis)
Calculi of the above
Systemic (severe hypertension, clotting problems, drugs)
Tumours (benign warts, BPH, Ca prostate, Ca bladder)
Vascular (varicosities, a-v malformations)
Iatrogenic / trauma (prostate biopsy, vasectomy, local trauma)
Unknown (fewer cases nowadays if fully investigated)

History
Amount, colour, duration, frequency
How observed? (exclude sexual partner as source condom test)
Any other Sx? (weight loss, STI?, UTI?)
Drugs Aspirin, Warfarin
FHx of prostate Ca?
TB? Schistosomiasis?

Examination
BP, temperature
Abdo masses?
Genitals
PR (re-examine urethral meatus after PR bloody discharge?)

Investigations
Urine dipstick and MSU
FBC, U&Es, LFTs, ? clotting screen
STI screen
Consider PSA if > 40 years old, or if FHx of Prostate Ca

Management
Most cases are benign and self limiting conservative Mx
Treat UTI or STI
Refer to urology if > 40 years old, or if persistent / recurrent Sx

References
1. Haematospermia: in the context of a genitourinary medicine setting
Int J STD & AIDS 2002; 13: 517521
Narouz and Wallace

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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27. Young people

Background1,2
This chapter is a brief overview only comprehensive ethical and medico-legal issues are beyond the scope

of this document
When young people attend for sexual health services, it is good practice to run through a checklist of risks / concerns

see figure 1 below. Items in the second column will raise more concerns than those in the third
If you suspect / diagnose an STI in a child, have a low threshold to d/w GUM / Paeds

Definitions
Child = a person who has not yet reached 18 years of age3
The GMC makes a further definition4
Children = younger children who lack the maturity and understanding to make important decisions for themselves
Young people = older or more experienced children who can make these decisions

In general
1/4 of young people are sexually active before age 16
They are the group least likely to use contraception
Poor awareness of STIs (hence quick Pill-check in GP?

discuss STIs!)

Concern about confidentiality is the biggest deterrent to seeking advice


do you need posters in your waiting room reassuring teenagers?

Legal issues (updated on Govt website5)


Legal age for heterosexual and homosexual sex is 16
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (England)
Sexual activity under the age of 16 is technically illegal although rarely prosecuted if consensual and no

Child Protection issues


Those aged under 13 are deemed unable to give consent thus penetrative sexual activity is defined as rape

Sexual Offences Act 2003


Became law May 2004
Protection for children, vulnerable people, general public
Laws regarding aiding and abetting a sexual offence

It does not alter the provision of sexual health advice, or treatment, to young people,
including those under 13, so long as you are:
Protecting the child from an STI
Protecting their physical safety
Preventing unintended pregnancy
Promoting emotional well-being by giving advice

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

27. Young people

Figure 1:

Suggested proforma for Risk assessment for young people attending sexual health services
Name / ID:

Age:

Essential

Additional Information

Age
Parental awareness of sexual activity
Involuntary sexual activity Current

Under 13

13 15

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Partner in position of trust

Yes

No

Alcohol use

Yes

No

Drug abuse

Yes

No

Pre-puberty

Yes

No

Intellectual understanding

No

Yes

Other young people / children at risk

Yes

No

Involvement of other sources

Yes

No

Home circumstances of concern


(e.g. in care / looked after)

Yes

No

Out of school

Yes

No

Aggression / coercion / bribery / grooming

Yes

No

Mental health issues

Yes

No

Understands advice given

No

Yes

Cannot be persuaded to inform parent(s)

Yes

No

Is likely to have intercourse

No

Yes

Physical and / or mental health


likely to suffer if care not given

No

Yes

Best interest is care with


or without parental consent

No

Yes

Yes

No

Consent to disclose

Yes

No

Discussed with / seen by senior doctor

Yes

No

Previous
More than one partner
Partners ages (specify)

Additional

Fraser competency for treatment

Action
Need to disclose
Reasons

Action
Referred to Health Advisor

Yes

No

Follow up

Yes

No

Name of Doctor / Nurse / HA


Date:

Reproduced with permission from the UK national guideline on the management of STIs and related conditions in children
and young people 2010 BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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27. Young people

Duty of Care
Doctors, and other health professionals, have a duty of care regardless of the patients age, and are able to provide
contraception, sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment, without parental knowledge, to an under
16 year old, provided:
She / he understands the advice provided and its implications
Her / his physical or mental health would otherwise be likely to suffer, and so provision of advice / treatment

is in their best interests


What if there is a risk to the health / safety / welfare of the under 16? Can you break confidentiality?
Yes, if the risks outweigh the right to privacy.
You should:
Follow local Child Protection Protocols and GMC guidance
d/w young person first and seek their permission, unless to do so might cause them harm
Discuss with colleagues with child protection responsibilities if any concerns
Justify any disclosure and document why

The decision to break confidentiality depends on the degree of harm, other risk factors and potential risk to other
young people, not just age.

Further reading
Your local Child Protection protocols
UK national guideline on the management of STIs and related conditions in children and young people 2010

Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
Best Practice Guidance for Doctors and other Health Professionals on the provision of advice and treatment

to young people under 16 on contraception, sexual and reproductive health July 2004
Dept of Health gateway ref 3382 Available at www.dh.gov.uk
General Medical Council (2007). 0 to 18 years: guidance for all doctors.

www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/children_guidance/index.asp.
General Medical Council (2012). Protecting children and young people: the responsibilities of all doctors

www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/13257.asp
Ethical and medico-legal issues (Chapter 2) in Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and

Sexual Health (2nd Ed)


Pattman et al Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-957166-6

References
1. UK national guideline on the management of STIs and related conditions in children and young people 2010
Available at www.bashh.org.uk/guidelines
2. Best Practice Guidance for Doctors and other Health Professionals on the provision of advice and treatment
to young people under 16 on contraception, sexual and reproductive health July 2004
Dept of Health Gateway ref 3382
Available at www.dh.gov.uk
3. Children Act 1989. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1989/ukpga_19890041_en_1.
4. General Medical Council (2007). 0 to 18 years: guidance for all doctors.
www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/children_guidance/index.asp.
5. Office of Public Sector Information. www.opsi.gov.uk/

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

28. Tropical STIs

With increasing travel...


UK GPs are more likely to come across tropical infections, some of which are associated

with sexual transmission.

See national
STI Management
Standards:
Chapter 1

Below are some tropical STIs they are relatively rare and most cases would require

referral to GUM, hence this section is brief


Your local tropical medicine specialists can offer advice as well

Chancroid1
After an incubation period of 3 to 10 days, a tender red papule forms

pustule

ulcerates after a few days

May get multiple ulcers, often side-by-side autoinoculation (kissing lesions)


Irregular margin with undermined edges, non-indurated (soft-sore), bleeds easily, painful++
Associated with local inguinal lymphadenopathy

buboes may form and can rupture

No prodromal symptoms
Caused by Haemophilus ducreyi: sexually transmitted but also auto-inoculated
Found in tropics and subtropics, but becoming uncommon.

Granuloma inguinale (donovanosis)2


At site of 1 inoculation, firm papules / nodules develop into friable ulcers (not painful)
May heal spontaneously or become necrotic and spread

local destruction

May be mistaken for malignancy


Incubation period 3 to 40 days
Found in small endemic foci in certain tropical countries
Caused by Klebsiella granulomatis

Lymphogranuloma venereum3
Systemic disease caused by sub-type of Chlamydia trachomatis (serovars L1, L2 and L3)
Classically divided into 3 stages
1: 3 to 30 day incubation period, transient painless papule, pustule or erosion
2: regional dissemination

tender lymphadenopathy. Most Pts recover at this stage

3: local tissue destruction; proctocolitis may mimic Crohns dis.


Prior to 2003, cases tended to be seen in travellers to tropics.
Now seen in certain MSM in UK dense sexual networks centred around the gay leather-bar scene
Presents as proctitis
Many Pts are HIV +ve and HepC +ve
Have an index of suspicion

sensitive sexual history

Take a rectal Chlamydia swab and/or prompt referral to GUM if you suspect it
Screen for other STIs

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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28. Tropical STIs

HIV
Travel does not just expose Pts to tropical infections think about HIV as well!
An increasing number of heterosexuals are exposing themselves to HIV abroad, especially when paying for sex4
Pre-travel advice should include advice on safer sex as well as appropriate prophylaxis against infectious diseases
Why not have a poster in your waiting room highlighting HIV high-risk areas? (Many patients do not realise

the prevalence of HIV in places like Thailand). See www.unaids.org


Why not also offer a post-holiday check-up (allowing for incubation periods)?
When testing for HIV5
In general

any doctor / nurse / midwife should be able to take an HIV test


lengthy pre-test counseling is not required for HIV tests unless the Pt requests or needs it
many Pts with HIV do not know they are infected
The patient should

be aware of the test and give consent (formal written consent is not necessary)
be aware of the 3 month window period and re-test again as necessary
be aware that simply having a test (with a subsequent negative result) should not have implications
for insurance / mortgage issues. See ref 5 for more details
You should

explain the benefits of testing (Rx saves lives, safer sex advice for future, etc)
agree details of how the results will be given to the patient (check contact details)
discuss future safer sex issues
have a process in place for fast-track referral of +ve results
See HIV chapter page 16

References
1. 2007 National guideline for the management of Chancroid
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org/guidelines
2. 2011 UK National guideline for the management of Donovanosis (Granuloma inguinale)
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org/guidelines
3. 2006 National guideline for the management of LGV
BASHH Clinical Effectiveness Group
Available at www.bashh.org/guidelines
4. Safe travels? HIV transmission among Britons travelling abroad
Rice et al
HIV Medicine 25 Jan 2012 Vol 13 p1468
5. UK national guidelines for HIV Testing 2008
British HIV Association / British Association for Sexual Health and HIV / British Infection Society
Available at www.bhiva.org

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Appendix 1: Partner notification

The advice is this section is designed to be background information for GPs. See Reference 1 for more detailed advice.
Partner notification (PN) also known as contact tracing, is the process of providing access to specific forms of

healthcare to sexual contacts who may have been at risk of an STI from an index case.
This includes supportively providing advice to contacts about possible infection, and providing treatments for infection.
The PN process includes
identifying a look-back interval during which the infection of contacts may have occurred
agreeing and recording contact actions with the index case
following up and recording the outcomes of the PN
Reinfection with Chlamydial and gonorrhoeal infection is common2, 3 stressing the importance of PN for the care

of both individuals and their sexual partner(s).


This applies to infection detection, reducing onward infection and re-infection, and the complications of infections.
PN is important from a public health point of view because it is a core component in the prevention of sexually

transmitted infections.
PN also involves providing other sexual health needs, including managing risk-taking behaviour and dealing with

certain ethical issues.


PN can be undertaken by
The patient themselves advising their sexual contacts to seek treatment
A healthcare provider advising a patients contact anonymously that they should seek treatment
The choice of method of PN will depend on the availability of resources as well as acceptability to the patient

and their contacts. Discuss these options with patients.


Trained practice nurses in Primary Care (with support from GUM staff) can undertake such work. Decisions should

be made locally on how best to provide PN for infections diagnosed in the community.
Services providing PN should have written care pathways linking all providers of STI care and PN to local Level 3

services (ie: specialist GUM clinics)


Healthcare workers providing PN should have documented competencies appropriate to the care given. These

competencies should correspond to the content and methods described in the Society of Sexual Health Advisers
(SSHA) National Sexual Health Advisers Competencies Competency Record Book4
Table 1 summarises look-back intervals and recommendations for epidemiological treatment.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Appendix 1: Partner notification

Table 1: Look back intervals for STI partner notification and recommendations
for epidemiological treatment (adapted from Ref 1 with permission)
Infection

Look-back intervals for partner notification*

Epidemiological treatment*

Chancroid

All contacts since and in the 10 days prior to onset


of symptoms.

Yes

Chlamydial infection

Male index cases with urethral symptoms: all

Yes

contacts since, and in the four weeks prior to,


the onset of symptoms
All other index cases (i.e. all females, asymptomatic

males and males with symptoms at other sites,


including rectal, throat and eye): all contacts in
the six months prior to presentation
Epididymo-orchitis

Use the look-back intervals for Chlamydial infection


or gonorrhoea, if these are detected. If these infections
are not detected, the look-back interval is for all
contacts since, and in the six months prior to, the
onset of symptoms.

Yes

Gonorrhoea

Male index cases with urethral symptoms: all

Yes

contacts since, and in the two weeks prior to,


the onset of symptoms
All other index cases (i.e. all females, asymptomatic

males and males with symptoms at other sites,


including rectal, throat and eye): all contacts in
the three months prior to presentation
Hepatitis A

Index cases with jaundice: all contacts in the two


weeks prior to, and one week after, the onset of
jaundice.
Index cases without jaundice: if possible, estimate
when infection is likely to have occurred based on
a risk assessment.
Notify the local CCDC , or equivalent, if an outbreak
is suspected, there are household contacts, there
are concerns about food or water borne infection,
or the index case is a food handler.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

No

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Appendix 1: Partner notification

Infection

Look-back intervals for partner notification*

Epidemiological treatment*

Hepatitis B

PN should include any sexual contact (vaginal or


anal sex, or oro-anal sex) or injection equipment
sharing partners during the period in which the index
case is thought to have been infectious.

No

The infectious period is from two weeks before the


onset of jaundice until the index case is surface
antigen negative. In cases without jaundice, if possible,
estimate when infection is likely to have occurred
based on a risk assessment. In cases of chronic
infection, trace contacts as far back as any episode
of jaundice, or to the time when the infection is
thought to have been acquired, although this may
not be possible for long look-back intervals.
Appropriate repeat serological testing of contacts
should be offered.
Arrange hepatitis B screening of children who have
been born to infectious women, if the child was not
vaccinated at birth, according to national guidelines.5
For screening of non-sexual contacts, including
household contacts, who may be at risk, discuss
with the CCDC or equivalent.
Hepatitis C

The infectious period for acute hepatitis C is from


two weeks before the onset of jaundice. However,
usually there is no jaundice or history to suggest
acute infection, and the look-back period for PN is
to the likely time of infection (e.g. blood transfusion
or first sharing of injection equipment), although
this may not be possible for long look-back intervals.
However, PN should be offered in two situations
only, where:

No

There was vaginal or peno-anal sexual contact

and either the index case and/or the sexual


contact(s) have HIV infection
Sharing of injection equipment occurred during

the period in which the index case is thought to


have been infectious
Appropriate repeat serological testing of these
contacts should be offered.
Sexual transmission of HCV through heterosexual
sexual contact is uncommon if both the index case
and sexual contacts do not have HIV infection, and
PN is not recommended for this group. Check that
children born to women with hepatitis C infection
have been tested for hepatitis C infection in
accordance with nationally accepted guidance.6
For other non-sexual contacts thought to be at risk,
discuss with the CCDC or equivalent.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Appendix 1: Partner notification

Infection

Look-back intervals for partner notification*

Epidemiological treatment*

HIV infection

An estimate, based on a risk assessment, of when


infection is likely to have occurred should be made
and PN provided to include all contacts since, and
in the three months prior to, this estimate. If this is
not possible, all previous partners should be contacted
and offered HIV testing. The risk assessment should
take into account sexual history, HIV testing history
(including antenatal and Blood Transfusion Service
testing history), and history of possible seroconversion
illness. Additionally, any results for recent infection
testing algorithm (RITA) assays8 for HIV infection, as
well as CD4 cell counts and trend in CD4 cell counts
should be taken into account, although careful
interpretation of these data is needed.

Post exposure prophylaxis


where indicated
see BASHH Guidelines7

PN for HIV infection should be part of ongoing care.


Joint Specialist Society Guidelines recommend sexual
history taking at six monthly intervals after first
presentation with HIV infection.9 Offer PN at followup visits when there are new sexual contacts whose
HIV status is negative or unknown, or when new
STIs are detected. Ongoing PN should include
discussion about testing and re-testing of current
partners and testing of children, where appropriate.
Identifying undiagnosed HIV-positive children is a
priority area of unmet need and practical guidance
on the approach to HIV testing of children with HIVpositive parents is available.10
Although there is no evidence-based guidance
currently available, in a recent multi-disciplinary
meeting11 the following were agreed:
HIV PN should be initiated as soon as possible,

and, by four weeks after a positive HIV test,


agreed actions and timelines to resolve PN
should be documented. Any outcomes of PN
should also be documented at this time.
Consensus that PN should be resolved by

three months, but that if PN is still unresolved


by this time it should be continued, with clear
timelines, as successful PN outcomes have been
reported up to 12 months after a positive HIV test.
LGV infection

All contacts since and in the four weeks prior to


the onset of symptoms.

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Yes

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Appendix 1: Partner notification

Infection

Look-back intervals for partner notification*

Epidemiological treatment*

Non-specific
(non-Chlamydial,
non-gonococcal)
urethritis in men

Male index cases with symptoms attributable to


urethritis: all contacts since, and in the four weeks
prior to, the onset of symptoms

Yes

(Screening of men, without clinical features suggesting


urethritis, by microscopy is not recommended practice,
and therefore PN is not recommended for this group).

Pelvic inflammatory
disease

Use the look-back intervals for Chlamydial infection


or gonorrhoea, if these are detected. If these infections
are not detected, the look-back interval is for all
contacts since, and in the 6 months prior to, the
onset of symptoms.

Yes

Phthirus pubis
infestation

All contacts since, and in the three months prior to,


the onset of symptoms.

Yes current sexual partner(s)


only

Scabies infestation

All contacts (including non sexual contacts: those


with prolonged skin-to-skin contact, bed and clothes
sharing, and household contacts) since, and in the
two months prior to, the onset of symptoms.

Yes current sexual partner(s)


and current non-sexual contacts

Syphilis

Early syphilis:

Yes in cases of early syphilis,


particularly for high risk contacts
and events and when contacts
may not attend for repeat
testing for syphilis

Primary syphilis: all contacts since, and in


the three months prior to, the onset of
symptoms
Secondary and early latent syphilis: all contacts
since, and in the two years prior to, the onset
of symptoms
Sexual contacts of index cases with early syphilis
should have serological testing for syphilis at the
first visit, and have this repeated six weeks and
three months from the last sexual contact with the
index case.

Not for latent and late syphilis

Late latent and late syphilis: PN (of sexual partners

and children of female patients) should be done


back to the date of the last negative syphilis
serology, if available. Otherwise, it should extend
back over the patients sexual lifetime as far as
is feasible. Because of the possibility of congenital
syphilis, consideration should also be given to the
testing of mothers of patients with late syphilis
who were born outside the UK in countries where
sub-optimal antenatal care was a possibility.
Trichomoniasis

Any partner(s) within the four weeks prior to


presentation should be treated.**

Yes current partner(s) and any


other partners connected with
recurrent trichomoniasis.
Current contact(s) should
take treatment at the same
time as treatment is taken by
the index case

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Appendix 1: Partner notification

* The look-back intervals and recommendations on epidemiological treatment stated are consistent with the BASHH
Clinical Effectiveness Group (CEG) Guidelines,12 except for chlamydial infection, where there is more qualification
based on the presence or absence of symptoms (the BASHH CEG Chlamydia Guideline states four weeks for [all]
symptomatic infection and six months for [all] asymptomatic infection). The recommendation in this Statement is
also more consistent with the PN recommendation in the CEG BASHH guideline for gonorrhoea.
If there have been no sexual contacts in these intervals: the most recent sexual contact beyond this interval.
Acute infectious hepatitis (caused by hepatitis A, B and C) are diseases notifiable (to Local Authority Proper Officers)
under the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010 Health Protection Agency.13
CCDC Consultants in Communicable Disease Control (or Consultants in Health Protection), are responsible for the
surveillance, prevention and control of communicable disease (as well as the health aspects of non-communicable
environmental hazards) for a defined population within (a) defined local authority area(s). They work, along with
specialist nurses, in the Health Protection Agency network of Health Protection Units (HPUs) in England. HPUs work
closely with other local services involved in disease detection, surveillance and control, including local microbiology
laboratories. There are equivalent systems in Wales and Scotland.14
The 6 month look-back interval for PID is given arbitrarily on the basis that Mycoplasma genitalium may cause
disease in women and be asymptomatically carried in men and women for an unknown period.15 Also, false
negative chlamydial nucleic acid amplification tests, as well as discordant chlamydial test results, and different
rates of spontaneous clearance of chlamydial infection, between sexual partners, are possible.16
** Trichomonal infection appears to resolve spontaneously in most men, usually within two weeks, with detection
rates in men decreasing with increasing time from last sexual contact with female index cases. However,
prolonged asymptomatic carriage has been demonstrated in some men.17,18,19

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Appendix 1: Partner notification

Partner notification slip: please print this off, fill it in and hand to Pt to give to their contact(s)

General Practice partner notification slip


Instructions to patient: Please give this slip to your sexual contact(s) and tell them to show
it to their own GP or specialist sexual health (Genitourinary Medicine) clinic. Your GP may have
given you the contact details of the nearest specialist clinic. Do not have any sex with your
partner(s) until they have had treatment.
Advice to Healthcare professional: This slip has been given to the contact(s) of a patient
seen at our surgery recently. The contact(s) will require full screening and epidemiological
treatment in line with current UK guidelines that are available at www.rcgp.org and
www.bashh.org /guidelines

Condition treated

Treatment given

Date treatment was given

Please contact us to inform us that the patients contact(s) attended your service

GP PRACTICE STAMP

Clinician

Designation

Date

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Appendix 1: Partner notification

References
1.

McClean H, Radcliffe K, Sullivan AK, Ahmed-Jushuf I. British Association for


Sexual Health and HIV. 2012 Statement on Partner Notification for Sexually Transmissible Infections
See: www.bashh.org/guidelines

2.

Hillis S, Owens L, Marchbanks P, et al. Recurrent chlamydial infections increase the risks of hospitalization
for ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1997;176:103e7

3.

Fowler T, Caley M, Johal R, Brown R, Ross JDC. Previous history of gonococcal infection as a risk factor in patients
presenting with gonorrhoea. Int J STD AIDS 2010;21:2778

4.

Society of Sexual Health Advisers. National Sexual Health Advisers Competencies Competency Record Book.
See www.ssha.info/ssha-national-sexual-health-adviser-competencies-consultation/

5.

National Institute of Clinical Excellence. PH21 Reducing differences in the uptake of immunisations (including
targeted vaccines) among children and young people aged under 19 years. See
http://publications.nice.org.uk/reducing-differences-in-the-uptake-of-immunisations-including-targeted-vaccinesamongchildren-and-ph21/recommendations

6.

Davison SM, Mieli-Vergani G, Sira J, Kelly DA. Perinatal hepatitis C virus infection: diagnosis and management.
ArchDis Child 2006;91:7815

7.

Benn P, Fisher M, Kulasegaram on behalf of the BASHH PEPSE Guidelines Writing Group Clinical Effectiveness
Group. UK guideline for the use of post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV following sexual exposure (2011).
See: www.bashh.org/documents/4076

8.

Health Protection Agency. Recent Infection HIV Testing Algorithm (RITA)/HIV Incidence. See:
www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&Page&HPAwebAutoListName/Page/1201094588911

9.

British HIV Association, British Association for Sexual Health and HIV and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive
Healthcare. UK guidelines for the management of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of people living with HIV
infection. See: www.bashh.org/documents/1955

10. British HIV Association, British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, Childrens HIV Association. Dont forget
the Children. Guidance for the HIV testing of children with HIV-positive parents.
See: www.bhiva.org/documents/Guidelines/Dont%20Forget%20the%20Children/DFTC.
11. Preliminary report from the National AIDS Trusts Expert Seminar on HIV Partner Notification, January 2102.
Final report will be available soon at www.nat.org.uk/Our-thinking/Our-current-work.aspx
12. British Association for Sexual Health and HIV Clinical Effectiveness Group Guidelines.
See: www.bashh.org/guidelines
13. Health Protection Agency. List of notifiable diseases. See:
www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/NotificationsOfInfectiousDiseases/
ListOfNotifiable Diseases/
14. Health Protection Agency. Health Protection Units
See: www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1219908762203
15. Ross, JDC, Brown L, Saunders LP, Alexander S. Mycoplasma genitalium in asymptomatic patients: implications
for screening. Sex Transm Infect 2009;85:4367
16. British Association for Sexual Health and HIV Clinical Effectiveness Group. UK National Guideline on the
Management of Nongonococcal Urethritis Updated Dec 2008 See: www.bashh.org/documents/1955
17. Weston TE, Nicol CS. Natural history of trichomonal infection in males. Br J Vener Dis 1963;39:2517
18. Krieger JN, Verdon M, Siegel N, Holmes KK. Natural history of urogenital trichomoniasis in men. J Urol. 1993;149:14558
19. Kanno M, Sobel JD. Late recurrence of resistant Trichomonas vaginalis vaginitis: relapse or re-infection?
Sex Transm Infect 2003;79:260261

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Appendix 2: Useful resources

1. Education and Training opportunities for Primary Care professionals


(Table adapted from Appendix C Standards for the management of Sexually Transmitted Infections 2010 BASHH
and Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health ISBN 978-1-905545-42-1
Available at www.medfash.org.uk and www.bashh.org.uk

Service
Level

Existing courses

Training Provided

Assessment method

Professional groups

Knowledge

Skills

Knowledge

Skills

Nurse

Dr

Evidence of training

Level 0/1

RCGP
Introductory Certificate
in Sexual Health
(online and face to
face training)
See RCGP website

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Certificate

Level 1

DH/BASHH/RCP
e-Learning for Healthcare:
Level 1 modules of
e-HIVSTI see below

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

On line learning
management
records progress

BASHH STIF Core


course (1 day)

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Certificate of
attendance

BASHH STIF Level 1


Competency assessment

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Certificate of
Competence and
registration on
BASHH database

Faculty of RSH Diploma


www.fsrh.org

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Not
currently

Yes

Diploma awarded
following assessment
of competence

DH/BASHH/RCP e-LfH
Level 2 modules of
e-HIV-STI

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

On line learning
management records
progress

BASHH STIF Plus


course (1 day)

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Certificate of
attendance

BASHH STIF
Intermediate
Competency for
those working
in Level 2 services

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Certificate of
Competence and
registration on
BASHH database

BASHH STIF Level 2


Competency for Clinical
Leads of Level 2 STI
services
(under development)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Certificate of
Competence and
registration on
BASHH database

Level 2

For more information about STIF courses please see www.bashh.org/education_training_and_careers/stif

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Appendix 2: Useful resources

2. eLearning for Healthcare eHIV-STI


Web based access to modules covering evidence-based knowledge of all aspects of Genitourinary Medicine
from Levels 1 to 3. Orientated towards primary and secondary care.
If you are employed by the NHS in the UK and have a NHS e-mail address you can register for free access to
eHIV-STI via the e-LfH Learning Management System by completing the registration form on the e-LfH website:
www.e-lfh.org.uk/projects/hiv-sti/register.html.
All NHS employees have a NHS email address. For more information and advice about obtaining a NHS email
address visit: www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/systemsandservices/nhsmail/using
3. British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH)
www.bashh.org
Orientated towards Secondary Care but useful information for Primary Care professionals as well.
4. PRODIGY
Comprehensive on-line guidance for certain STIs
www.prodigy.nhs.uk/guidance
5. Map of Medicine
Pathways for asymptomatic patients and symptomatic patients requesting STI testing
www.mapofmedicine.com
6. Patient leaflets
BASHH produces patient leaflets on certain conditions. See www.bashh.org/guidelines
www.patient.co.uk also has very useful patient leaflets

7. The Family Planning Association


Information and resources for pts and professionals, including patient leaflets
www.fpa.org.uk/home

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Appendix 2: Useful resources

8. Books
Oxford Handbook of Genitourinary Medicine, HIV and AIDS 2nd Ed

Pattman et al.
Oxford University Press 2010 ISBN 978 - 0-19-957166-6
Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Holmes et al.
McGraw-Hill 2008 (4th Ed)
Clinical Practice in Sexually Transmissible Infections

McMillan, Young, Ogilvie and Scott


Saunders (Elsevier Science Ltd) 2002
Sexual Health Promotion in General Practice

Curtis, Hoolaghan, Jewitt (Eds)


Radcliffe Medical Press 1995
Improving Sexual Health Advice

Wakely, Cunnion and Chambers


Radcliffe Medical Press 2003
ABC of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (6th Ed)

K E Rogstad (Editor)
BMJ books (Wiley-Blackwell) 2011
A General Practitioners Guide to Genitourinary Medicine and Sexual Health

Sonnex C.
Cambridge University Press 1996
Sexual Health in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Wilson J. and Everett M. (Ed: Walker J.)


Remedica publishing 2003
Sexually Transmitted Diseases: diagnosis in color

Wisdom A. and Hawkins D.


Mosby-Wolfe 1997 (2nd Ed)
The Handbook of Sexual Health in Primary Care

Edited by Belfield, Carter, Matthews, Moss and Weyman


fpa 2006
Sexually Transmitted infections and HIV

Dr Dan Clutterbuck
Elsevier Mosby 2004

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013

Notes

This guideline is available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org /guidelines

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care 2013 (RCGP/BASHH) by Lazaro N.


Available at www.rcgp.org and www.bashh.org/guidelines